Education International
Education International

Indonesia: Teachers call for change in professional status

published 22 February 2016 updated 24 February 2016

Teachers across Indonesia are urging their government to keep its promise to change their professional status from non-permanent to permanent civil servants, entitling them to decent work and living conditions.

On 10-11 February, thousands of non-permanent, contract teachers, called ‘honorary teachers’, demonstrated in the capital city, Jakarta, in front of the Presidential Palace of The Republic of Indonesia. They demanded that the government fulfil its September 2015 promise to grant them recognition as civil servants. Most of these ‘honorary teachers’ are teaching for more than 15 years with a salary as low as US$20 per month.


During this action, 50,000 honorary teachers donned a black uniform to show their dismay at the government’s unfair and unjust treatment of them, said Sulistiyo, President of Pengurus Besar Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI – Indonesian Teachers’ Association).

Government response

Herman Suryatman, a spokesperson for the Ministry for the Empowerment of State Structure and Bureaucratic Reform, explained that public authorities have tried to look for a solution so honorary teachers are appointed as civil servants. “This was actually already discussed with the ministries and agencies, such as the justice and human rights ministry and the national civil service agency. But the appointment of honorary teachers is difficult to fulfil.”

Recruitment postponed

According to him, the law does not allow for the direct appointment of honorary teachers to be civil servants without procedure, as the appointment must follow the selection process. Also, he claimed, the Indonesian state’s financial condition has led to a moratorium (postponement) on civil servant recruitment since 2015, thus preventing the appointment of honorary teachers as civil servants.

EI: Investment necessary

Education International (EI) urges Indonesia’s public authorities to invest in teachers and to give them stable status and working conditions, as this is a crucial prerequisite for sourcing quality, motivated teachers and achieving quality education in the country.