THEORETICAL REVIEW – curriculum context in Indonesia

In this chapter, the researcher gives a series of description about the aspects of the curriculum context in Indonesia which are related to the present study. It begins by describing the background of the KTSP, the curriculum design which is investigated in this research. It includes an explanation of the two main characteristics of the KTSP, which are school-based curriculum development and competency-based curriculum. Here, the researcher also describes the learning approaches recommended in the KTSP and the implementation process of the KTSP based on the Curriculum Policies. The last, at the end of this chapter, as a conclusion, these elements are drawn together to produce the conceptual framework that has guided the research.

A. Educational Reform in Indonesia

When the reformation changes many aspects of human life, it also affects the changes of curriculum used in the school system. The implication is to meet the present and future needs. This curriculum changes focused on the developing ability of the student competence. In this case, the school may have the authority to derive the competency standard licensed by the central government. Thus, the teachers can adopt some derivational materials based on the specification, condition and potency of the regency need called as the School Based Curriculum Development, which is also popular as KTSP (Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan).

As Cheng (2009) proposed that in order to support educational reform, working conditions at both institutional and system levels need to facilitate and empower teachers to perform effectively. This should allow teachers to select instructional strategies according to the nature of the content, their students’ needs, and their teaching objectives which aimed to acknowledge the local context and at the same time to raise the quality of education. Improvement in the quality of education is intended to improve the quality of Indonesian human thoroughly to face the global challenges.

Based on the government regulation, The KTSP was gradually introduced in primary schools across Indonesia from 2006. It was implemented sequentially in years 1 and 4 in the first year, years 2 and 5 in the second, and years 3 and 6 in the third. Starting from the academic year of 2009/2010, the KTSP became mandatory for each level of primary, junior and senior high school across the country (Peraturan Menteri Pendidikan Nasional No 24, 2006c). And based on the Education Regulation number 20 year 2003 about national Education system 36 (1) and (2) become the curriculum references consisting of the plan and stages that are aimed to establish national education goals.

KTSP is defined as an operational curriculum that is arranged and done by the school and adapted to the characteristics, conditions and potency of regency including the religion and pupils needs which stated as follows:

(1) Pengembangan kurikulum dilakukan dengan mengacu pada standar nasional pendidikan untuk mewujudkan tujuan pendidikan nasional

(2) Kurikulum pada semua jenjang pendidikan dan jenis pendidikan dikembangkan dengan prinsip diversifikasi sesuai dengan satuan pendidikan, potensi daerah dan peserta didik

Moreover, based on the regulation number 19 year 2005 about Education National Standard section four pasal 17, which regulate about Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan as stated as follows:

1) Kurikulum tingkat satuan pendidikan SD/MI/SDLB, SMP/MTs/SMPLB, SMA/MA/SMALB, SMK/MAK atau bentuk lain yang sederajat dikembangkan sesuai dengan satuan pendidikan, potensi daerah/ karakteristik daerah, sosial budaya masyarakat setempat dan peserta didik.

2) Sekolah dan komite sekolah atau madrasah, mengembangkan kurikulum tingkat satuan pendidikan dan silabusnya berdasarkan kerangka dasar kurikulum dan standar kompetensi lulusan di bawah supervisi dinas kabupaten /kota yang bertanggung jawab di bidang pendidikan untuk SD, SMP, SMA dan SMK dan departemen yang menangani urusan pemerintahan di bidang agama untuk MI, MTs, MA dan MAK

3) Kurikulum tingkat satuan pendidikan dan silabusnya untuk program paket A, B, dan C ditetapkan oleh dinas kabupaten/ kota yang bertanggung jawab di bidang pendidikan berdasarkan kerangka dasar kurikulum sesuai dengan peraturan pemerintah ini dan standar kompetensi lulusan

1. An overview of the KTSP

The KTSP has two main characteristics: first, it is school based-curriculum; and second, it is competency-based.

a. KTSP as a school-based curriculum

In developing the KTSP, schools must refer to the Curriculum Policies and Curriculum Guidelines provided by the central government. This operational definition of the KTSP clearly falls into the category of school-based curriculum development (SBCD). The central government has determined what curriculum areas are to be addressed and the competencies of every 20 learning area to be achieved in primary, junior and senior high school. Schools are given autonomy to plan and develop aspects of the curriculum which include the development of a syllabus for each learning area and appropriate lesson plans. Schools are also to decide on the frequency of teaching certain subjects on a weekly basis and the teaching of local content. Despite this autonomy, schools and teachers, when developing their KTSP, must refer to the content standards, competency standards and general principles of the KTSP as stated in the Curriculum Policies and Curriculum Guidelines issued by the central government.

School based-curriculum development (SBCD) in Indonesia is a new approach to educational planning and, as in most developing countries; it is not a grass roots initiative but rather imposed by agents operating outside the school. In the Indonesian context, the SBCD was initiated, imposed and monitored by the government. The development and implementation of the school-based curriculum, in this case the KTSP, is supported and supervised by a local education office as part of devolution from central government. The local education office has responsibility for ensuring that the KTSP in each school meets the requirements outlined by the Curriculum Policies.

b. KTSP as a competency-based curriculum

Under the National Education System, Law No. 20/2003 (UU No. 20 Sistem Pendidikan Nasional, 2003), the government decreed that the curriculum should reflect competency based education which focuses on what the students are expected to achieve rather than on what they are expected to learn (Sanjaya, 2005; Suderadjat, 2004). In addition to this, the competency-based approach was also perceived by Suderadjat (2004) as having the potential to increase students’ competitiveness in the workforce.

The KTSP is competency-oriented; its curriculum policies prescribe the Graduate Competency Standards (GCS) a student must demonstrate on graduating from primary, junior and senior high school. The GCS included competencies for each level of school, competencies for subject groups, and competencies for each subject. Further, the BNSE prescribes basic competencies that must be achieved in every subject, each semester and in each grade. These basic competencies, which are derived from competency standards for each subject, consist of a number of minimum learning competencies. These are stated in the form of specific and measurable outcomes that students must demonstrably achieve at the completion of each semester and each grade. Teachers must refer to the competency standards for each subject and the basic competencies when developing their syllabus.

2. Key concepts and learning approaches in the KTSP

As part of the move towards giving schools and teachers more autonomy and raising education outcomes, the Indonesian government has also identified the need for significant changes in teaching and learning approaches. These are stated, either explicitly or implicitly in the Curriculum Policies and Curriculum Guidelines, through the description of key teaching and learning concepts. These were chosen because they are central to classroom practices recommended by the Curriculum Policies. They are:

1. Student-centered learning;

2. Active learning;

3. The role of the teacher as a facilitator;

4. Students’ interaction as a means of promoting learning;

5. Assessment for learning; and,

6. A thematic approach to learning.

The following is an explanation of from where these concepts are derived in the KTSP Curriculum Policies and Guidelines.

1. Student-centered learning

Student-centeredness is one of the key concepts of the KTSP. The Curriculum Policies and Curriculum Guidelines state that one of the governing principles central to the development and implementation of the KTSP is that it should be student centered. Here is the guidelines stated about it:

The development of the curriculum (the KTSP) is based on the principle that learners are at the centre of curriculum development. This approach supports the development of competencies which create spiritual, virtuous, healthy, knowledgeable, capable, creative, independent, democratic and responsible citizens. To achieve this, learners‟ competencies should be developed on the basis of their potential, their developmental level, their needs, benefit to them and the demands of their environment. Thus, having a central position in this context means that learning activities are learner-centered. (Translated from BSNP, 2006, p. 5)

Although, the Guidelines do not provide a detailed explanation of what student-centered learning means in the context of the KTSP, the above quote places students at the centre of the development of teaching and learning programs.

2. Active learning

Another key concept in the KTSP which appears to be informed is active learning. The Curriculum Guidelines, translated from the Compilation of Government Policy (Tim Pustaka Yustisia, 2008) suggest that the KTSP should be “designed and delivered through a learning process which is active, creative, effective and joyful where the focus is on the students” (p.5).

Active learning in this context refers to the process in which students construct their own knowledge through higher order thinking (Pusat Kurikulum, 2010). Although emphasized in the KTSP, the notion of active learning in Indonesian curricula is not new. Rather, this approach to learning has been encouraged in previous curricula although studies indicate that it has not been implemented effectively (Curriculum Centre, 2010; Silverius, 2003; Suderadjat, 2004).

3. The role of the teacher as a facilitator

The KTSP, like the KBK, proposed the role of a teacher as a facilitator. The Curriculum Policies promote a paradigm shift from a focus on teaching into one on learning which leads to a changed role for teachers (Tim Pustaka Yustisia, 2008). This shift is from a transmitter of knowledge to a facilitator of learning. It is described in the explanation section of the government policies regarding the National Standard of Education in Indonesia (Translated from the Compilation of Government Policy: Tim Pustaka Yustisia, 2008):

The educational reform involves a paradigm shift in an educational process, from teaching to learning. A teaching paradigm which focuses on the role of teachers as transmitter of knowledge to students should shift to a learning paradigm which gives more roles to the students to develop their potential and creativity… (p. 30)

4. Student interaction as a means of promoting learning

In the context of the KTSP, interaction refers to learning activities where students actively work with teachers and other students. The Curriculum Guidelines state that the KTSP should be designed to provide students with learning experiences that involve both cognitive and physical processes. These processes should encourage interaction amongst the students, and between the students and the teachers that lead to students jointly constructing their knowledge through higher order thinking activities (BSNP, 2006).

5. Assessment for learning

Assessment is another key concept guiding teaching and learning in the KTSP. Unlike the previous concepts mentioned, the Curriculum Guidelines provide supporting documentation which explains what is expected in relation to assessment under the KTSP. Assessment in the Guidelines is defined as a set of activities to gather and analyze information in order to measure learning outcomes (BSNP, 2006). Further, it is stated that learning outcomes for students at primary, junior and senior high school are assessed by classroom teachers, schools and the government.

The Curriculum Guidelines emphasis that the assessment of student-learning outcomes by the classroom teachers is not only conducted to assess the product but also to monitor the learning process, learner progress and to inform future planning. They suggest that assessment should take many forms and be much wider than traditional forms of objective tests and essay tasks. Some of the approaches to formative assessment recommended at the classroom level include, but are not limited to, authentic assessment, performance assessment and portfolios (BSNP, 2006).

Assessment undertaken by the government is conducted in the form of national examinations which are administered at the students’ completion of primary, junior and senior high school. The results are used as a means to map the quality of education, to be a selection base to enter the next level of schooling; to determine the passing requirement of a level of schooling; and, to identify where intervention is required to improve the quality of education. There has been a continuous debate surrounding the national examination system. One of the criticisms argues that the summative assessment conducted by the government relies heavily on traditional forms of objective tests and essay tests to identify national standards. This form of test is considered to fail in assessing the breadth of students‟ learning (Siswono, 2008). It may also encourage teachers to teach to the test and use traditional methods of teaching rather than active learning (Pusat Kurikulum, 2010).

6. The thematic approach to learning

In terms of the structure of the curriculum, the Curriculum Policies state that the teaching program from years 1 to 3 should be delivered using a thematic approach (Peraturan Menteri Pendidikan Nasional No 24, 2006c). Similar to the policy on assessment, the Guidelines also provide supporting documentation about the thematic approach in the KTSP. As well as describing the learning perspectives underlying the thematic approach, this document provides a detailed explanation of the nature of the thematic approach, stating such an approach uses a theme to integrate two or more subjects in order to provide a meaningful learning experience for students (BSNP, 2006).

This chapter has presented an overview of the KTSP. It described the nature of the KTSP as a school-based, competency-driven curriculum, derived from national Curriculum Policies and Guidelines. It explained that the underlying theoretical perspective of the KTSP was based on the idea that giving schools more autonomy could produce better outcomes both at a local and national level. The school can formulate the curriculum in line with the requirements of the situation and environmental conditions. This overview suggests that the KTSP required teachers to make considerable changes in their practices. This new curriculum shifted the emphasis from teachers teaching to students learning. It is very possible for the teachers to develop a particular subject for the needs of their students. And it also asked teachers to use a range of assessment strategies which would assess both the product and the process of learning and inform future teaching.

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