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: