The year 2013 was special for the improvement of education standards in Indonesia. Competence and character qualities received thorough attention, leading to attempts to rewrite the curriculum. The 2013 curriculum is just one of the key results.
The remaining task concerns the quality of teachers. The government drafted a strategic plan at the turn of the year by designing a new model for teacher recruitment.
The projected model of recruitment for government-funded school teachers will be different from the selection of civil servants in general. The forthcoming system and mechanism of teacher recruitment will not be as simple as before.
From the perspective of the existing mechanism, the recruitment of government-funded school teachers used to adopt an “open system” with no significant difference from the recruitment of civil servants in general. In the past, prospective teachers had to apply for teaching jobs under government employment in exactly the same way as applicants for other types of employment.
If they passed the document selection, they then underwent a written test and if they qualified they would be admitted as new civil servants.
In contrast, the new recruitment model works under a so-called “closed system”. The recruitment process starts from the stage of learning at teachers colleges. Technically, schools that are in need of teachers will have to place orders with the colleges for their best graduates.
And then the campus recruitment process begins. Students who meet the desired criteria set by the school register as candidates at their respective campus. The college then provides specialized training for professional school teachers (PPG), as is currently undergone by teachers through in-service teacher education and professional training (PLPG).
The new recruitment model for school teachers should be much appreciated.
The reason for this is that there is a fairly wide gap between a school’s high need for teachers with professional skills and abilities and the competence of graduates from teachers colleges (LPTK).
Teachers play a strategic role in the creation of future generations through education. They are the main players who directly deal with students in classroom learning.
For this reason, the new recruitment model should focus on strong competence of teachers as required by the school in the implementation of quality education practices. Almost all education literature defines competence as the combined personal capabilities, ranging from knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices.
That is not only a matter of cognitive competence alone but also affective and psychomotor. Thus, prospective teachers must master these three components of expertise.
The new design for teacher recruitment aims to strengthen the mandate of Law No. 14/2005 on teachers and lecturers. Article 10 of the law mandates four competencies that teachers must master, namely pedagogical competence, personal competence, social competence and professional competence.
Personal competence refers to the ability to manage learning activities. It deals with the ability of individual teachers to become good role models. Social competence of teachers marks the ability to communicate and interact effectively and efficiently with students, fellow teachers, parents/guardians of students and the community. Professional competence includes the ability to take control over the broad and wide learning materials.
The new recruitment model for teachers needs to take into account the problems of meeting the demands of personal and social competence as such. Pedagogical and professional competence refers only to the mastery of learning materials and the condition of students, while personality and social competence are more than this technical portion of education.
The specialized training for professional school teachers under the new recruitment model, therefore, has to emphasize the issues of personality and social competence. The process of recruitment must then come with additional measurement instruments through two major programs, first, personality training and second, social communication training.
Advancement in information and communication technology is a blessing for students. However, it tends to be impersonal, leaving no room for teachers as a source of value and manner. In this situation, students may lose the figures that could become a reference in their lives.
Teachers, therefore, must play a major role in addition to the significant role of information and communication technology as a source of information.
The loss of this personality will weaken the capacity of teachers to strengthen their competencies as professional educators.
Moreover, children do not dedicate 24 hours a day to school. Children spend an average seven hours at school a day.
Thus, 17 hours are spent outside of school. Family as well as the surrounding community, or places between home and school are then important places for socializing for students.
In that context, teachers need to have social competence. Academic expertise of teachers should be enriched with the ability to build relationships, interact and cooperate through good communication with the parents of students and the wider community more broadly.
The ability to do so would not only shape the character of teachers but would also lead them to professionalism.
The writer, secretary of East Java’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), lectures at Sunan Ampel State Islamic University (IAIN), Surabaya.