For most children, going back to school is exciting. The face-to-face classes in schools will enable them to see old friends and classmates. At the same time, they will possibly get infected with the Covid-19 virus.
Last month, Indonesia started the face-to-face classes in the country. The reopening of schools to students also brought fear to parents. That fear turned into a nightmare when hundreds of children became infected with the Covid-19 virus.
Indonesian Pediatric Society’s president, Dr. Aman Pulungan, said that over 1,800 children in Indonesia died because of the virus. The country’s COVID-19 task force added that there were 1,833 children deaths up to August 8. They are between ages six and 18, while 531 of them are below five years old.
Other Schools Started Face to Face Classes
Previously, the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology disclosed that up to September 22, out of 46,580 schools that conducted face-to-face classes, 1,296 reported virus transmission.
On September 11, Indonesia reopened schools for face-to-face classes. Even though hundreds of students contracted the disease, the ministry thinks that only 13 schools in Java and Sumatra as clusters.
Setbacks of Online Learning
Due to the long pandemic, over 60 million Indonesian students are facing the setbacks of online learning. It is according to the September report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
One primary concern is the stability of the Internet connection of 57.3% of Indonesian households. They based their report on the conducted survey in 2020 Q4.
The face-to-face classes do not happen every day, but only two or three times a week. Students switch between online and classroom learning.
“Although the ministry of education and culture provides internet data quotas, not all students have a smartphone. In elementary, middle, and high schools here, the health protocols are lax, [I know this] because I also have children who are still in elementary school,” said Eka Ilham, a BimaRegency, West Nusa Tenggara high school teacher.
Most of the students’ parents in his area are farmers and cannot help their children with school activities. He also worries that school health protocols are not rigorously implemented.
Face to Face Classes for Australian Schools
While some parents oppose the face-to-face classes, others are pushing it. In Australian schools, parents, students, and teachers are getting prepared.
Indonesia is Australia’s closest Asian neighbor and is a G20 member with a burgeoning economic force in business, education, and technology. Both countries’ education systems emphasize similar curriculum skills. It involves collaboration, communication, and critical and creative thinking.
Indonesia’s education ministry issued a series of guidelines for schools that will resume face-to-face classes. It authorized a 1.2-meter social distancing rule and limited the number of students per classroom.
Disastrous Effect of the Pandemic to the Education
According to experts, an economic shock and school closures due to the pandemic is a disastrous blow for several of Indonesia’s 68 million students.
Regardless of going to school for over 12 years, an average Indonesian student had a productive learning for only 7.8 years. It fluctuated to 6.9 years this July since the pandemic started.
Emphasizing Indonesia’s transition from bad education results to unsatisfactory. The pandemic will leave over 80% of 15 year old students below the minimum reading proficiency level. It is according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
It is a sudden rise from the 70% of students who couldn’t reach the basic literacy benchmark. Usually, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018. the assessment put Indonesia in the bottom 8% from 77 participating countries.