The ECED project strengthens early childhood education systems in rural Indonesia by addressing the low capacity of community teachers in poor and remote parts of the country to deliver quality education services. The pilot project works towards increasing teacher access to quality professional development services by leveraging and enhancing existing government teacher training programs, strengthening local capacity to deliver training at the district level, and introducing community participation in the service delivery process. This district-based, community-focused training system is piloted in 25 districts over a two-year program period, with the participation of 15,000 community ECED teachers from 2,647 villages.
Early childhood education and development (ECED) is crucial to Indonesia’s long-term success—ages 0-6 are considered the golden years of child growth. Indonesia is rapidly expanding its ECED centers across the country. However, teacher competence is a major challenge for these facilities.
Teachers are highly dedicated but their training and educational background are limited. Most teachers only have senior high school diplomas. Sukabumi district (West Java) implemented an innovative solution to improve the quality of ECED services in 22 subdistricts through Tiered Training and Education for ECED teachers. This is part of the ECED Generasi Cerdas Desa (GCD) pilot*.
Sukabumi Improves ECED using Village Funds
The ECED pilot trained about 15,000 ECED teachers in 25 districts during 2016-2017 alone. These trainings included local study visits, ECED centers cluster activities, independent tasks and mentoring. ECED teachers were also trained to Proficient and Advanced levels.
The Sukabumi district government has facilitated subdistrict use of the Village Fund to support the ECED program.
“In August 2018, 21 teachers from seven villages attended the Advanced Training. [Even though] the Village Budget could only afford to send 17 teachers.
The four other teachers did not want to be left behind so they paid for themselves,” said Lomri, Head of Section for ECED Teachers and Educators at Sukabumi Education Office.
To date, three subdistricts—Pelabuhan Ratu, Jampang Kulon and Kadudampit—have used the Village Fund to fund ECED activities. Kadudampit in particular is a great success story—90% of ECED teachers there participated in Advanced Training in 2018, financed by the Village Fund.
Mothers Drive the ECED program
The idea to finance the ECED program from the Village Fund was first suggested by ECED teachers during a hamlet-level meeting in Sukabumi in 2017. The Association of ECED Teachers and Educators in Indonesia (HIMPAUDI) then coordinated at village and subdistrict meetings to get the recommendation through.
The success of the program has been driven by mothers in the village —their enthusiasm and passion has played a huge role in advocating for better training for ECED teachers. Since 2017, mothers have been vigorously calling for improvements in teachers’ competence. They even accompany village heads to every subdistrict activity.
Mothers at the district and sub-district levels are also important advocates of the ECED program.
“As a driver of the Family Welfare Movement in the area, the mother who represents ECED at the district level travelled around and advocated for the importance of supporting improvements in ECED quality,” said Head of HIMPAUDI Sukabumi branch, Emi Ruhaemi.
“The mothers in subdistricts are also very active. I have asked HIMPAUDI’s head and his staff to support mothers in the villages,” said PAUD district patron Yani Marwan.
ECED WhatsApp Group Helps Program Communication and Coordination
Intensive communication through an ECED WhatsApp group has also helped the initiative.
“The mothers, members of the Family Welfare Movement and all teachers from district down to village levels are part of an ECED WhatsApp group chat. They can access and share all information quickly.
When another village holds training or other activities, for example, information is shared in the WhatsApp group. Everyone can access information and ideas, and it’s easier to coordinate,” says Yani Marwan.
Village, subdistrict and district government staff—including Inter-Villages Cooperation Body staff—have joined the WhatsApp group for improved communication on delivery of basic social services in villages.
The Key Role of the Inter-Villages Cooperation Body in Driving Change
The Inter-Villages Cooperation Body (BKAD) can play a key role in coordinating the district’s legal support for ECED, as it has done in Sukabumi.
The Sukabumi district government issued two laws to improve the capacity of ECED teachers:
The BKAD has mentored stakeholders of the ECED process from the early planning stage.
“A clear and detailed District Head Regulation (Perbup) is critical.
The regulation is usually circulated at the coordination meetings to BKAD and facilitators before the technical guidance on village fund allocation is created. It is then easier for them to disseminate information to villages,”said Deni Ludiana, Head of Facilities and Infrastructure Division at Sukabumi Village Community Empowerment and Governance Office.
Mothers then disseminate the information on the regulations and monitor the process until the regulations are issued. The BKAD will eventually take on the responsibility to monitor ECED facilitators.
Financial Incentives for ECED Teachers to Improve Skills
Improvements in the quality of ECED in Sukabumi are also supported by financial incentives for teachers.
Participants in Tiered Training and Education receive financial benefits ranging between Rp75,000 (for high school graduates) to Rp200,000 (for holders of undergraduate degrees).
The incentive encourages many ECED teachers to take further undergraduate degree training in ECED. This can also improve their personal welfare.
Inside the classroom at Sukamanis village preschool in Kadudampit, Sukabumi. At the end of the class, the teachers will gather to refine the teaching material for the next day or the upcoming week. (Photo: The World Bank/Fibria Heliani).
*ECED Generasi Cerdas Desa
ECED Generasi Cerdas Desa (GCD) is a collaborative pilot to expand access to and improve the quality of ECED services in villages.
At the national level the program facilitates cooperation between:
At the district level, national government agencies work with:
"Proper budget allocation is important but equally important is how it will be spent." The words of Indonesia’s Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, as relevant today as they were when she first stated them in January 2017. Indonesia transfers over US$ 7 billion annually to villages nationwide, as part of the Village Law (Law 6/ 2014). But how are these funds used by villages and do they ensure that villagers have basic services?
Galung Tuluk, a coastal village in the Polewali Mandar regency of West Sulawesi, is setting a strong example of spending better to address the unique needs of its community. There, the village government has placed a high priority on ensuring that the youngest generation has access to quality basic services. Galung Tuluk is investing a large portion of its annual Village Law endowment to bring quality early childhood education and development (ECED) services to its children. This community-driven investment is of particular importance in provinces such as West Sulawesi, which have extremely high rates of child stunting. Galung Tuluk's spending on ECED is significantly higher that that of other villages in Indonesia, which on average allocate just 5% of village funds to health and education services.
The village fund allocations are a result of community-level decision-making, whereby issues are raised at sub-village consultative meetings, before being escalated to a village level meeting where they are prioritized. Respondents from the village government indicated that the investment in early childhood education came about because communities were aware of the importance of basic social services and engaged in village consultation processes, and village government leaders were willing to invest in the human capital of their community.
In April 2018, members of the ECED Frontline team travelled to the regency and spoke with village, sub-district and district officials to understand what drives and inhibits investment in ECED services in a decentralized Indonesia. The team found that in 2016, Galung Tuluk allocated 39% of its Village Law transfer (Village Fund) to early childhood education services. The allocation was spent on salaries for its 22 early childhood teachers and constructing a new early childhood centre – PAUD Bina Bangsa.
In 2017, 23% of the village fund was spent on ECED. Funds were used to raise early childhood teacher salaries by 67% and refurbish two existing centers. Galung Tuluk also increased allocations for village-level health posts, raised health workers’ salaries, and introduced supplementary feeding for toddlers, pregnant women, and malnourished children under five. The village also invested in village-level support groups for mothers of young children known as Bina Keluarga Balita (BKB). Two of Galung Tuluk’s ECED centres provide parenting, health and child education services in one location. These kinds of integrated services, which focus on pre- and post-natal health and education, can have a big impact on child stunting.
In 2018, Galung Tuluk had even bolder plans, seeking to allocate funds towards teacher training, in the same model as the ECED Frontline program they had participated in. However, Galung Tuluk was also unable to go through with teacher training as they couldn’t convince other villages to come together to create a minimum demand for training and the cost of training was too high for the village to bear alone.
Previously, under the auspices of the ECED Frontline pilot, teachers in Galung Tuluk were able to attend affordable and quality training organized at the sub-district level for a number of villages at a time. However, as seen in Galung Tuluk, generating and coordinating demand between villages to invest in teacher training is a challenge. Our research during these missions reveals that sub-district level actors like the Village Facilitator at the sub-district office, education and community empowerment offices at the district level, and training providers need to do more to pool demand from across villages if a village-financed training system for early childhood educators is to be sustainable.
Tuesday, Aug 1, 2017 Author: Thomas Brown
Indonesia continues to make strides in expanding access to early childhood education (ECE) across its vast archipelago, now reaching some 70.1% of 3-6 year olds. Yet despite this increased availability, quality of services continues to be poor, especially in rural and low-income areas. In particular, there continues to be reliance on under-qualified teachers, with many having received inadequate formal training, or none at all.
The vast benefits of ECE can only be realized if the services that children receive are of sufficient quality, and the lack of skilled teachers in rural areas risks reinforcing inequality of opportunity in Indonesia. As such, the race is on to provide adequate training to the ever-expanding force of early childhood educators to meet the needs of children across the country.
Fresh approaches are needed to achieve this scale, since government spending on ECE is limited and the current top-down approach to teacher training can be expensive. The existing model also presents major barriers for rural teachers, since it involves extended travel or relocation to regional urban centers for extended periods of time to attain their qualifications.
The recently introduced Village Law involves the transfer of up to US$140,000 in funds directly to each village in Indonesia, to finance development programs based on their own needs and priorities. There are currently 196,378 ECE centers in the country and almost all are privately managed, often by communities themselves.
Getting their children into quality pre-schools is often a high priority for community members, and the Village Law presents an opportunity for villages to invest in their own ECE centers and teachers in light of limitations in public investments.
Last year the World Bank, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Villages launched the Generasi ECED Frontline pilot program in Indonesia. With funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the program aims to leverage the Village Law transfers to increase the availability of high quality, affordable professional development for ECE teachers in 25 rural districts. The program delivers quality training at the sub-district level, bringing it much closer to the teachers who serve their communities. This is done by expanding the force of local district trainers to provide training, as well as engaging local ECE NGO’s who handle the logistics.
The pilot also introduces community participation into the service delivery process. Village governments can nominate local teachers to receive training, and community groups enter into contract arrangements with the NGOs, and are responsible for monitoring performance as well as managing and dispersing funds.
In 2016, 203 training classes were delivered to community teachers from over 2,500 villages. For many of these teachers it was their first opportunity to attend formal training.
Encouragingly, master trainers were willing to navigate tough terrain, by motorbike or even small boats to reach remote areas, and also boarded with local families where no accommodation options were available. As a result of this commitment, training was delivered at the sub-district level, meaning teachers only had to travel short distances, could return to their homes at night, and were able to bring their own children to the training sessions.
The two-year pilot program operates by allocating earmarked funds for communities to purchase training for three teachers from their village each year (approximately Rp. 1,500,000 (USD 110) per teacher). As communities become more familiar with being involved in the service delivery process, it is hoped they will begin to use their own Village Funds to purchase the training package for their teachers, given it’s low unit cost.
This district-based, community focused training system puts forward a more market-based model for service provision by connecting supply and demand for quality ECE at the local level. This approach has the potential to accelerate the up-skilling of community teachers in rural and remote areas of Indonesia, to ensure that the future generation has an equal start, no matter where they are born.
Dini Ruhiyatun is the only teacher at the Seroja Indah Early Childhood Education Center (PAUD) in the hamlet of Lendang Terong, in Barabali Village, Central Lombok. The PAUD, which has more than 20 students, had no permanent location until recently. In 2016, members of the community lobbied the village government to build a multi-function hall using Rp 60 million (US$4,450) in village funds. The idea to build the hall was initiated through the Generasi project, which is dedicated to integrating mother and child healthcare, as well as early childhood education and development programs, into village development planning. The hall is also used as a local health post (posyandu) and for other community activities by three nearby hamlets.
The village government has acknowledged Dini’s significant contribution to improving the quality of early childhood education in the village, and has provided her with support to improve her skills. Recognizing that Dini has no formal background as a teacher, the village government supported her participation in PAUD teacher training as part of the ECED project. The training was provided to Dini and 7,797 other community-based teachers in 2,647 villages throughout the 25 participating districts in 2016.
Dini explains, “In one of the training modules, we were taught how to develop a teaching workplan. This was extremely valuable, providing me with a practical guide for how to better present lessons in my classes. After participating in the training, I have been able to develop teaching material in a more structured way. The training also strengthened my confidence and invigorated my passion to continue teaching.”