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Indonesia's Battle to Improve Schools

posted Jan 21, 2013, 7:50 PM by Unknown user
Indonesia's pursuit of educational excellence through an ambitious pilot project on schools of international standard appears to have hit a roadblock.

The Constitutional Court has told the government to abandon the project before the start of the new school year in July. The experiment was deemed "unconstitutional" as it was beyond the reach of less well-off Indonesians who are denied access to quality education.

The court struck down an Article in the 2003 Law on national education that obliges the government and the regional administration to set up at least one pioneer school for development into a school of international standard, or Rintisan Sekolah Berstandar Internasional (RSBI), after some years, and a full-fledged international standard school, or Sekolah Berstandar Internasional (SBI), at every district or municipality.

Parents find the RSBI and SBI schools attractive as they are allowed to adopt a curriculum based on integration of the national curriculum and those of their foreign counterparts, to use English as a key language of instruction and to have smaller class sizes.

But they have drawn criticism for being elitist as the schools are accessible only to children of the rich and the middle class because poor Indonesians cannot afford the high monthly fees.