KIAT Guru is helping to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and performance. Teachers’ allowances are tied to their service quality. The pilot started in July 2016, with implementation in 203 schools and impact evaluation in 270 primary schools in five underdeveloped districts. Communities verify teacher presence using mobile phone-based applications and evaluate teacher service performance using community scorecards.
Good leaders lead by examples, the saying goes, and Janur Damianus does just that as the principal of SDN Mboeng in remote Kaju Wangi village in Manggarai Timur District, East Nusa Tenggara.
He would be among the first to arrive at school, riding his motorcycle and navigating the rocky road in the mountainous area for half an hour before reaching the school. The lanky man did not have to rise his voice to make himself heard, but his calm demeanor and stoicism earned him much respect.
“The principal is a kind man and fatherly, but he’s very discipline, making us feel embarrassed if we don’t follow his lead. If we make mistake, he gives reasonable advice instead of being angry. He’s very open and willing to admit mistake,” said Elfrida Iman, the homeroom teacher for 4th grade students.
Having been teaching for 31 years, Januar, 53, was transferred to SDN Mboeng in 2015. He recalled how he arrived at around 7.15 every morning only to find the school almost empty. Many of the teachers would be there way after the classes supposed to start at 7.30.
Janur said he did not get angry, as he understood the challenges faced by the teachers and the students who have to walk through harsh terrain to get to school. Come rainy season and the bamboo structures would leak and the school would be flooded that the students would be asked to stay home for a couple of days.
But he consistently showed up early for the first few months and it paid off: the teachers started to come on time. “I treat them like they are my own children,” said Janur, who originally came from Golosari Village in the neighboring subdistrict of Sambirampas.
When KIAT Guru program selected the school as part of its pilot, Janur was ecstatic and welcomed the idea as he felt there were many rooms to improve but the school and the community did not have enough resources. The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and the District Government of Manggarai Timur. Implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia, the pilot aims to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
KIAT Guru facilitator Angga Yoga S. said the principal became a focal point for the pilot as he has strong presence and is very well-respected in the community.
“He helped approach the village government to support the program, and he fully supports the Education User Committee (Kelompok Pengguna Layanan, KPL), which comprises of parents and local community figures, even though he knows that the Committee would monitor and evaluate his performance,” he said.
When an issue emerged as a teacher demanded to be promoted as civil servant, Janur settled the problem amicably, giving understanding to the teacher that such decision was at the national government and the most important thing is for students to receive quality education.
Angga said Janur is very open to suggestion even when it comes from a much younger person.
“I told him about a school principal in Yogyakarta who likes to do rounds at the school to see for himself condition of the students; he thought it was a good idea and did the same ever since,” Angga said.
Janur initiated the library at the school after the students requested it. He said he sought the books from other schools, as well as from his relatives and grown up children in Jakarta. The school managed to get a couple of hundred donated books this year.
Another of his initiatives is the rule obliging everyone to only use Bahasa Indonesia at school from Monday through Thursday. The rule was implemented after he saw the results of KIAT Guru baseline survey how many students were still lagging behind in Indonesian language as they mostly use local dialect.
“I’m not promoting KIAT Guru but it is indeed a very good program. We as teachers learn a lot. The most valuable lesson is discipline and attendance,” he said.
He hoped that the pilot would be implemented in every school, or at least at his eight-year-old daughter’s school across their house. Janur said he did not enroll his daughter to SDN Mboeng because it was too far and the harsh terrain would be more severe when it rains. He was however concerned with the late attendance and lackluster performance of the teachers in his daughter’s school.
“It’s ironic that I work hard assisting the program to improve SD Mboeng while my own daughter’s school is ignored,” Janur sighed.
Dawn has not yet broken in Hawir Hamlet in Nggilat Village, Manggarai Barat District in East Nusa Tenggara, that July morning. But Patria Helena “Helen” Delasmi, 9, and her brother Yanuarius Theodata Giarto or Gian, 6, were all set to go to school. While waiting for breakfast to be served, the siblings were playing with their three-months-old sister held by their grandmother. They have to wake up early every morning because the school is quite a distance away and getting there is almost like a cross-country adventure – a thirty-minute to one-hour walk through dirt and gravel road, passing through a forest, meadow and a river stream. But they have no choice as there is only one elementary school in Nggilat, SDI Hawir, which serves three hamlets and a neighboring village, Singkul. The school has been selected to take part in the KIAT Guru program to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to verify teachers’ attendance and evaluate service performance.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction and the District Government of Manggarai Barat. It is implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia.
As trails of sunlight broke into the kitchen, Helen and Gian were having breakfast of rice mixed with noodle. They were accompanied by their mother Veronica Sulastri, 27. Like many children in this village, Helen is shy toward strangers and she is not yet fluent in Indonesian as she is more accustomed to speaking local dialects. “She actually likes to read and she likes Mathematics, but she has difficulties in understanding Indonesian language,” Veronica says. She tries to help Helen with her study and homework every night, which is included in KIAT Guru's set of community service agreement.
KIAT Guru empowers communities to hold teachers accountable by agreeing to prioritize five to eight bottom-up service performance indicators to improve the student learning environment. In turn, communities, in this case parents, must also do their part at home, such as providing what children need, like a uniform and desk to study at home, and helping with homework. “But I can only help so much because I’m only a junior high school graduate,” Veronica said.
Helen’s father, Maksimus Sunardi, 31, helped her tie her shoes before going to school. Sunardi welcomes the KIAT Guru program in his children’s school and he actively takes part in the meetings between teachers and the Education User Committee (Kelompok Pengguna Layanan, KPL), which comprises parents and community figures. He hopes the government fix the village road as it worries him that his small children must go through such physical adventure to reach their school. “Some children in this village don’t want to go to school as it is too tiring,” he says.
As a farmer, the harsh terrain also limits market access. Sunardi sells different commodities, from candlenut to rice and coffee bean, which are collectively sent with trucks to traders in Reo sub-district in the neighboring district of Manggarai. The commodities prices are fluctuating, Sunardi says, in the mercy of the traders.
Helen climbed down the stairs in front of her house, which is divided into living area that is made of brick and a wooden kitchen in the back. A toilet and bathroom are built outside. A couple of friends were already waiting for the siblings to go to the school together. Some of the students live in the neighboring village of Singkul, even further away from the school. They would pass Helen’s house every morning and the sound of them running and talking will be her cue to leave the house.
More students joined Helen and other kids to walk to school. The students seem to have gotten used to the rocky and hilly road, as they walk fast and bounce in joy, even though some of them are still very young and some wear flip flops as they cannot afford shoes. During KIAT Guru’s initial meeting with the children, where they were asked for their recommendations for parents and schools. They wished for basic necessities that children in more developed areas take for granted. Some of them want shoes, food and a good uniform. Others wished for not having to look for firewood in the forest.
Helen and other students drew water from Turvale River into the jerry cans. Dry season makes the school’s front yard arid and dusty, so children are asked to bring water to dampen the ground and moisten the plants, as there is no water source available at school. During dry season, the river is only an ankle deep. But in times of heavy rains, it will overflow up to two-meters high and the children are sometimes forced to stay home. When the water subsides, Helen’s father, Sunardi says, he and other fathers would carry their children on their shoulders to pass the river.
Students walked up the rocky path in the forest and each carried their jerry cans of water to school. SDI Hawir Elementary School occupies a three-hectares area, but is in poor conditions, with cracked floors and ceilings, dirty walls and broken blackboards. There is no available water source, and there is only one toilet, a rickety bamboo stall with a hole in the ground that is used by 116 students and their 11 teachers.
A truck passed the students who walked to the school. The rocky village road makes it impossible for regular cars to pass through, so trucks serve as public transportation between villages. The back of the truck is modified so it accommodates benches for passengers to sit on and they put a canopy above the truck. People can usually hear the truck long before it is seen, as the drivers play loud house music to entertain passengers, and themselves.
Helen passed a meadow on her way to school. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she said, as translated by her father, “midwife.” Perhaps she learns from the hardship her mother had to endure when delivering her children. There is no clinic and midwife in remote Hawir; the closest health center is in Rego Village, some 7 kilometers away. Veronica had a traumatic experience with a traditional midwife when giving birth to Helen. So for Gian’s delivery, she opted to go to Rego, which meant walking for one hour carrying her huge midsection as the rocky road makes it difficult for regular cars and ambulance to go through. Maternal mortality cases are rare now, but the harsh terrain creates medical complications, such as bleeding. For her youngest child, Veronica chose to stay with her sister in the district’s capital city of Labuan Bajo for two months until she gave birth.
It was 7.15 a.m. and the students finally arrived at SDI Hawir. All of the teachers have also come. While waiting for the class, some of the students played with their friends outside while others went straight to their classrooms to do their cleaning task. Fifteen minutes later, the bell rang and everyone ran inside the classes to start the day’s lesson. Helen sat in the back of the room along with other third graders. In the baseline study of KIAT Guru pilot, Helen was “not meeting the basic ability” for Bahasa Indonesia and Mathematic. Nevertheless, she is eager to study and very active in class, carrying her parents’ high hopes that she would graduate from university.
Photo: Fauzan Ijazah
It was almost 7.30 a.m. and the principal and the teachers at Mboeng Elementary School (SDN Mboeng) in remote Kaju Wangi Village, Elar Subdistrict in Manggarai Timur, East Nusa Tenggara, took turn to take each other’s photograph with a cellular phone.
They were not about to update their social media’s profile pictures. Instead, the photo session was part of KIAT Guru program to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and the District Government of Manggarai Timur. It is implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia.
Teacher’s attendance has been an issue in this village, as some of them often only appear at 9 a.m., or 90 minutes after the class is supposed to start, if they come at all. An unannounced visit in SDN Mboeng on Oct. 31, 2016 showed that one in six or 17 percent of teachers who were scheduled to teach were absent. The reason for their absence was to attend a training in a neighboring subdistrict. This figure is consistent with The World Bank survey of 270 schools in October 2016 and March 2017 that indicated the rate of teacher absence stands at 25.4 percent. An earlier survey by Analytical and Capacity Development Partnership (ACDP) in 2014 indicated that the rate of absenteeism among teachers in remote school (19.3 percent) is double the national rate (9.4 percent).
In lights of this issue, the KIAT Guru pilot began in July 2016 and was implemented in 203 primary schools in five underdeveloped districts. The intervention program is using three models: community empowerment; community empowerment and tying teachers’ allowances to their attendance; and community empowerment and tying teachers’ allowances to their service quality.
Sejak April 2016, SDN Mboeng has carried out the second intervention model over where the teachers and the principal have to clock in at 7.30 a.m. at the latest and clock out at least at 12.30 p.m. using the camera app. The community then verify teachers’ presence and evaluate teacher’s service performance using community scorecards. This model worked wonders in reducing the rate of teacher’s absenteeism and late attendance.
“In the past three months, none of the teacher was late. And it trickles down to the students. Seeing their teachers disciplined, the children are now in order, too. They have better manner and they rarely come late anymore even though many of them have to walk for 30 minutes to one hour to get to school,” said Andreas Jemahang, KIAT Guru cadre whose son also studies at the elementary school.
Along with the Education User Committee (Kelompok Pengguna Layanan, KPL), which includes nine members comprising parents and community figures, Andreas evaluates teachers’ attendance and service performance based on a set of service indicators or “promises” that were agreed with community members beforehand. Based on the recommendations from children, whom KIAT Guru team consulted before launching the pilot, the promises range from coming to school on time, to not using corporal punishment on children and being more creative in teaching, such as using visual aids and holding classes outdoor.
As teachers improved, students have too, as shown by a baseline student learning assessment and a diagnostic test in Bahasa Indonesia and mathematics.
“The baseline student learning assessment was conducted in September 2016 and it showed how six 3rd graders did not fare well in reading. In June, there was a diagnostic test on these students and the results were exhilarating. The six can now read well, two of them met the basic standard for second grade, two fit the third grade standards and one even passed the fourth grade standard,” said Karolina Lantu, 3rd Grade homeroom teacher.
Sabina Rantos, a sixth grader at the school, said she liked it that now teachers conduct classes outside, such as for science class.
“It’s more fun,” said Sabina, who have to walk two hours every day to go to school and from school.
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017 Author: Hera Diani
One July morning in SDI Hawir elementary school in remote Ndari Hamlet, Nggilat Village in Manggarai Barat District, East Nusa Tenggara, the fifth graders were studying about Catholicism, but the material was beyond memorizing the Bible verses by heart.
The teacher, Quintus Kalis, began the class by asking the students whose responsibility it was to cook in their houses. The children replied in unison: “Mom!”
“What about cleaning the house? And other household chores?” he asked again, and was met with a similar response. “Mom! The girls!” the kids said.
“Boys don’t help at all? What if your mom is ill? You don’t eat?” he pressed. This time, the 45-year-old man was met with silence.
Smiling, he went on to tell the class that household chores are not necessarily the duty of girls as both girls and boys are equal and have the same ability.
During our chat outside the classroom, Quintus said that divisive gender roles have been his concern for a long time, even though he might not be aware of what the phrase means.
“I observed the communities and wondered how come men just sit around waiting for their coffee to be served. Boys are playing all day while girls have to help with house chores since early on. It made me uncomfortable,” he said. He then made a promise to himself to teach values of gender equality to students when he became a teacher.
Originally from Colol Village in Manggarai Timur District, Quintus graduated from teacher college STKIP Keuskupan in Ruteng, the capital of neighboring Manggarai District. He worked at a parish for five years after graduating before teaching religion at a junior high school in Pateng, Manggarai Timur. That was when he began to infuse gender equality in religion class.
“Teaching religion is not only about praying or faith, but also cleanliness, manner,” he said, adding that he even taught the students how to cook rice.
“More important thing is, we have to walk the talk and be a role model. We can teach them how to sweep the floor clean, but if we don’t set the example, they won’t do it.”
Those principles are implemented at his own home, where his two daughters as well as his son have to do chores. Quintus is not bothered by the fact that his wife, who is also a teacher, brings home bigger paycheck as she became a civil servant earlier than he did.
“My eldest daughter asked me ‘why is Mom’s salary higher than yours?’ I told her that we are actually paid the same, but I gave mine to her Mom,” he said, laughing.
After teaching junior high school for 17 years, he was transferred to SDI Hawir in 2013. He found the community in Ndari Hamlet more laid back compared to that in Pateng.
“In Pateng, if we passed people’s houses at the time where we’re supposedly at school, people would say, ‘Teacher, why so late? What about our kids in school?’. But here, they said, ‘Teacher, come drink coffee with us’,” he said.
The attitude has gradually shifted, he said, ever since KIAT Guru launched a pilot in Nggilat Village, Manggarai Barat to improve education service delivery by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and the District Government of Manggarai Barat. It is implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia.
Quintus said the program has ‘awakened’ the community and the teachers, mediating them to create better solutions to improve the students’ learning.
He said he was glad that KIAT Guru made children the core of the program, consulting with them first and foremost before the pilot started by asking children to assess learning support provided by their teachers and the community members. It was in line with his own understanding that adults should enter the children’s mind and their world instead of treating them like object.
“We have to think of them as our own children. Enter their world, get to know them as each of them is unique and have different levels of ability. If we bring them into our ideal mind, we would lose our temper,” he said.
“If we’re too hard on them, they would be too scared to learn. When the recess bell rings and they scream for joy, don’t be too happy, because that means our class is like a prison for them.”
Alfiana Pamut was standing in front of an overwhelmingly male audience at SD Inpres Golo Popa, an elementary school in Manggarai Timur District in East Nusa Tenggara, one of the poorest regions in Indonesia. The young woman, who heads the school committee, with a loud and clear voice, read the scores given to each teacher in the school for their service performance that month.
As I sat at the back of the room, observing how the meeting went, I could not help being impressed by the scene.
In a different context, citizens making demands on teachers to provide better services may be a normalcy. But SD Inpres Golo Popa is located in Compang Necak, a very remote village some three hours of grueling drive from the nearest town. In isolated villages like Compang Necak, teachers tend to be very well respected. But precisely because of the remoteness of the areas, supervisions over the teachers by government officials are at a bare minimum, if any. A UNICEF study in 2012 revealed that the lack of supervision resulted in higher teacher absenteeism. An unannounced survey by ACDP in 2014 found that one in five teachers was absent from remote schools, or double the national rate.
At SD Inpres Golo Popa, a World Bank unannounced survey in 2016 found that one in seven teachers was absent from the school. None of the 51 students tested (of 61 registered students) achieved their grade-level competencies in either Indonesian language or mathematics. Such was the disheartening situation before KIAT Guru pilot started.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction and the District Government of Manggarai Timur. Implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia, the pilot aims to improve teacher presence and service performance.
KIAT Guru empowers communities to hold teachers accountable by agreeing to prioritize five to eight bottom-up service indicators to improve student learning environment. In some pilot schools, the community empowerment is combined with pay for performance as part of a teacher’s income, based either on the school committee’s verification of teacher’s presence, or the committee’s score on teacher’s service performance. Comprised of nine members – six parents of students and three community leaders – the committee members are elected by the parents and community members. The committee in Golo Popa comprise of five women.
In SD Inpres Golo Popa, the teacher service performance scores evaluated by the school committee determined the amount of remote area allowance that teachers receive. For example, as the principal received a score of 91, she would receive 91 percent of her remote area allowance for the respective month. Since the total amount of the remote area allowance is the same with their base salary, the committee’s score is a high-stake for teachers.
After Alfiana completed reading the service performance scores for all seven school teachers, the principal and parents were asked to respond. The school principal Ester Esem questioned her score. She had carried out her job well by supervising teaching and learning activities and teacher presence every day.
Confidently, Alfiana responded that the school committee had checked the document, conducted observations, and interviewed students before scoring. The committee found that Ester’s supervision was not optimal. In the teacher presence form, two teachers marked themselves as being present, although they were supervising tests at other schools that day.
When I asked the school committee members during lunch break on how they could be so brave, they said it was the responsibility of their heart. They had to be fair to teachers, but also be accountable to the wider community. In a separate talk, Ester, the school principal, confided that the committee had done a good job in holding teachers accountable. As a female principal, she said, male teachers would not listen to her. But now she has all the committee members conducting the monitoring on her behalf.
While what I witnessed in Golo Popa may be one of the best-case scenarios, it is still very encouraging to see that after only three months of community facilitation, the school committe could already hold the principal and teachers accountable to the service indicators that they had agreed upon. It may take longer for other communities to achieve a similar level of social accountability, but Golo Popa shows that it is definitely possible. The KIAT Guru pilot is currently implemented in 203 very remote primary schools in five districts. Results from the pilot aims to provide the Ministry of Education and Culture with policy recommendations.
Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 Author: Hera Diani
Several dozens of children formed a circle in the front yard of SDI Hawir elementary school in Nggilat Village, Manggarai Timur District in East Nusa Tenggara a July afternoon after class. Each of them then said their names, grades, the hamlets they were from and what they wanted to be when they grew up.
“I want to be a singer!” said Erdi. Emanuel wished to become a policeman while Yulia wanted to become a doctor. Other aimed for painter, teacher and midwife, and the kids burst into laughter when a girl said she wanted to be a mother. “In the kitchen!!” a boy mocked her, leaving the girl smiling shyly.
When they seem to have relaxed, they were brought back inside the classroom for a session where students from third to sixth grade provided recommendations and feedbacks on teachers and parents.
It was the second time such assessment was held, the first one was in March, before the KIAT Guru pilot was launched at the school. The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and the District Government of Manggarai Barat. Implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia, the pilot aims to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
At the core of the pilot are the students, whose opinions and recommendations are the basis to create the indicators of teachers’ attendance and performance, as well as feedbacks for their parents. Before the pilot even started, the children were the first party to consult as they were deemed the most knowledgeable on what the teaching and learning process should be at school.
At SDI Hawir, the students were given an informed consent form stating that the information they provided would be shared with other parties. The form had two emoticons, one smiley and another frowning face, and they had to tick either one to indicate their approval or disapproval on information sharing.
Afterwards, they started to write on cue cards on what their parents and teachers should do to help them improve. Reading what they wrote on the cards was an emotional experience as many of their wishes were basic necessities their peers in more developed areas take for granted.
Many of these students live in neighboring hamlets and have to walk about 30 minutes to one hour to reach school, on a rocky path that passes forest and a river. Some of them wished they have shoes instead of wearing flip-flops to school. They also asked for food and new uniforms, and there was a kid who wished he did not have to look for firewood.
As for the teachers, the students said there have been improvements as none of the teachers have been late in the last three months, and they appeared to be more relaxed and in good spirit.
“What about physical punishment? Any of you is still being beaten by the teachers?” asked
KIAT Guru facilitator Pansbert Chrispierco Bunga, who led the assessment.
“Nooo,” said the students. But there was a small voice from a boy that said, “Yes.”
“Are you still being beaten?” Pansbert asked.
“Yes, with (a piece of) wood, on my bottom. It wasn’t hard, though,” said the boy.
The boy, and the rest of the students, said they would not mind punishment but it should be done lightly, like kneeling, singing or a slight pinch on the cheek.
As for the school, they hoped the classrooms would be renovated as some of them were in poor condition, with cracked floors and ceilings and dirty walls. The toilet, a rickety bamboo booth with a hole in the ground that is used by 116 students and their 11 teachers, required fixing and addition, they said.
SDN Mboeng in Kaju Wangi Village, in the neighboring district of Manggarai Timur, also hoped for good school infrastructure. The school was built by the community in 2009 so that their children could go to school. Initially, the building comprised of four classrooms made of bamboo, with dirt floors, no doors and no windows. And later on the local education office built three additional rooms made of bricks.
Based on the children's recommendations, the school then installed doors at the classrooms (as the children said they often found dog poops on their desks the next morning), and punctured holes on bamboo walls to enable some lights inside the rooms. They still wished to have more permanent structures, but at least they now have a library, which they requested last year.
“I love it, I love reading storybooks,” said Victoria Anggraini Dautteri Nambung, 10, a sixth grader.
SDN Mboeng's religious teacher, Tomas Langga Ras, said the KIAT Guru program, particularly the child assessment, has transformed him into a new man.
“I used to be the most feared teacher. I had a booming voice, I yelled at kids and used my two hands to discipline them. Now, thanks to KIAT Guru, I’ve come to realize that corporal punishment is not appropriate and it damages children’s psychological state.”
Janur Damianus, the principal of SDN Mboeng at the neighboring district of Manggarai Barat, said the students’ demands brought tears to his eyes.
“To be honest, it had never occurred to me that students could be opinionated. I guess, we always put children as object. But KIAT Guru taught us to give more effort. It gives us motivation,” he said.
The recent meeting between teachers and the Education User Committee (Kelompok Pengguna Layanan, KPL) of SDI Hawir elementary school in Nggilat Village, Manggarai Barat in East Nusa Tenggara, quickly turned into a heated argument.
Members of the KPL, which comprises parents and community figures, had just finished presenting the results of a diagnostic test looking at how the students fared on Mathematics and Indonesian Language following the implementation of the KIAT Guru pilot program over the past three months at the school.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction and the District Government of Manggarai Barat. Implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia, the pilot aims to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
The diagnostic test on 30 SDI Hawir students showed that the students have made some progress compared to the baseline survey held before the pilot was launched. The number of students who have difficulties in reading or Mathematic have decreased and some have met the basic standards of their grades.
Amid this progress, however, the result showed that a couple of fifth graders who still could not read whereas the baseline survey indicated that all of the fifth graders could. The KIAT Guru facilitator, Pansbert Chrispierco Bunga explained that since the problems on both the survey and the diagnostic test were given in multiple choice, the students perhaps answered correctly the first time but they could not provide the correct answer during the test. This situation created a commotion between the KPL and the teachers, as both parties threw a blame game.
“How is it that fifth graders cannot yet read? I’m questioning the capacity of the teachers. It may be better for the school to appoint more capable teachers especially for first graders, so that they will have more solid basic ability,” said a KPL member.
Some of the teachers became defensive, saying that parents should not leave it all up to teachers in educating their children.
“You cannot blame us because we are appointed by the government. Parents should also take part in educating these children, helping with their home works at home,” said a teacher.
The school’s principal, Damasus Jowan, said he felt proud of the progresses the students made and asked to look for solutions.
“How could parents want teachers to have all the responsibilities? The duties of the teachers have limit, please do not throw the blame at us,” he said.
After exchanging arguments, both the User Committee and the teachers concluded that the problem was because the children had trouble receiving the lessons. Pansbert from KIAT Guru, who initially let both parties resolved their own arguments, immediately chimed in, saying that a blame game, particularly on students would not solve the more pressing issue at hand.
“If the results are not satisfactory, let’s create solution beyond what we have agreed on,” he said.
Disputes between KPL and teachers are not new and it was not unique to Nggilat Village, but they also happen in other areas where KIAT Guru is implemented in -- 203 primary schools in five underdeveloped districts.
KIAT Guru empowers communities to hold teachers accountable by agreeing to prioritize five to eight bottom-up service indicators to improve the student learning environment. In some pilot schools, community empowerment is combined with pay for performance as part of teacher’s income, based either on the KPL’s verification of teachers’ presence, or the KPL’s score on teacher’s service performance. Comprising nine members – six parents of students and three community figures, KPL members are elected by the parents and community members.
The members take turn to come to school and monitor the teaching and learning process. A KPL member in Nggilat Village, Maria Fransiska Di, said there are three methods of evaluating the teachers: direct monitoring at school, document checking and interview with students.
Every month, they presented the evaluation process in a meeting with the school. The results often incited arguments between the KPL and teachers, who sometimes feel the former did not do their job well while it would affect the teachers’ allowance.
Andreas Jemahang, KIAT Guru cadre who works closely with the KPL in Kaju Wangi Village in the neighboring district of Manggarai Timur, admitted that the parents initially lacked self-confidence to evaluate the teachers.
“We didn’t feel confident as we are only modest farmers and we have to monitor and evaluate teachers who are university graduates. But we have been encouraged not to hesitate,” he said.
KPL also works to monitor the communities, particularly parents, to remind them to do their share in helping children improve their academic abilities.
Dispute aside, both teachers and communities agreed that KIAT Guru have brought them together with the mutual goal to provide better quality education for their children.
“We as parents did not pay much attention to what happened in school, thinking there are teachers to do that. With KIAT Guru, we are reminded that our children’s abilities mostly did not meet the standards. The teachers perform better now, and the communication between teachers and parents now exist,” said Maria Fransiska Di of Nggilat Village.
Teacher Benediktus Roni of SDI Hawir said with KIAT Guru, KPL and teachers are mediated to disclose and solve problems.
“With the agreements between schools and communities, both parents and teachers become more aware of their responsibilities,” he said.
Religious teacher Quintus Kalis said KPL has done a great job in monitoring the teachers and he was convinced that with KPL’s involvement, the quality of education at the school would improve.
“KIAT Guru has increased teachers’ professionalism here. The program has made our ‘flu’ disappear and the sick days are behind us,” he joked that in the past, many teachers did not come to school due to ‘influenza’. “Now we’re ‘healthier’ and have perfect attendance.”
Back to the diagnostic test result, both the KPL and the teachers decided to amend their initial agreements in a meeting a week after. The additional points include afternoon classes, replacing morning flag ceremony with tutoring session and 15-20 minutes refreshing session in the morning. These amended agreements would be evaluated every semester.