Education International
Education International

Indonesia: trade unionists demand decent wages and better promotion prospects

published 4 July 2013 updated 15 July 2013

The 21st Congress of the Teachers’ Association of the Republic of Indonesia (PGRI), EI’s largest national affiliate, has called on the government to invest in teachers and education, and improve teacher's living conditions by giving them decent salaries.

Teachers want a better salary system

The PGRI Congress, which is being held from 1-5 July, 2013, is demanding respect for often ignored rights of teachers.

PGRI President Sulistyo said that some teachers have been in a disheartening situation because their rights are not fully respected, especially their rights in relation to promotion.

He explained that under the current pay system teachers are only compensated for their work in the classroom, and not for additional workload that they bring home or do outside the classroom.

“Teachers are never appreciated for their role in coaching students outside the classroom. For instance, they are not given any acknowledgement when providing students with additional tutoring hours,” Sulistyo said.

He added that the new national curriculum to be implemented as of 15 July will place a greater burden on teachers. Under this curriculum, teachers are required to clock in 24 hours per week to be entitled to certification and consequently to a professional allowance.

The Teacher Law No. 14/2005 also specifies that teachers must be fully certified, to improve their professional competence and therefore the quality of national education.

800.000 teachers without hope of promotion

“About 800.000 teachers are stuck at the IVa rank in Indonesia’s civil service hierarchy, and can neither get further promotion nor become school leaders,” Sulistiyo further deplored. “Some of them feel frustrated because they are providing good service but see their rights ignored.”

He underlined that the cause of the career stagnation of these thousands of teachers was the ineffectiveness of the promotion system, which needed to be resolved. The Government, Sulistiyo said, must remediate this unsatisfactory situation and make sure that teachers have opportunities for promotion.

“Governments must ensure decent living and working conditions and a proper career path for teachers to ensure quality education,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “Educators must receive support through quality professional development and training, before entering the profession and while in-service.”