Education Notes

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Education Notes is a series produced by the World Bank to share lessons learned from innovative approaches to improving education practice and policy around the globe. Background work for this piece was done in partnership, with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

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  • Publication
    EFA in Indonesia : Hard Lessons About Quality
    (Washington, DC, 2003-05) World Bank
    Indonesia has seen vast improvements in access to education over the past thirty years. It is a good example of a country that has followed a disciplined linear approach to EFA: Indonesia focused first on primary school access, next on lower secondary school access, and is only now attempting to address key policy issues to improve learning outcomes. However, many long-established precedents that have a negative impact on quality are proving very hard to change. Indonesia's struggles to improve quality demonstrate the importance of tackling such issues from the very beginning, as initial efforts are put in place to expand access. The Indonesia school system is characterized by startling contradictions. It has seen great gains in primary and lower secondary enrollment as a result of strong political will, but educational quality remains very low. The school year in Grades 3-6 is among the longest in the world (over 1400 hours annually for single shift classrooms), but the potential impact of this extraordinary effort is lost in part because the school year in Grades 1 and 2 is among the shortest in the world (under 500 hours annually in most cases).