Indonesian programme dedicated to early childhood teachers wins UNESCO-Hamdan Prize

04 October 2018

“The project gave many improvements to existing programmes and open up more opportunities to teachers for professional development, but continuous improvement remains necessary to reach more teachers in different areas,”, says Dr Abdoellah, Director at Indonesia Ministry of Education and Culture’s Directorate of the Development of Teachers and Educational Personnel for Early Childhood Education and Community Education.  The programme, Diklat Berjenjang, is one of the three laureates of this year’s UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers.  

Like UNESCO, the Indonesian government has prioritized early-years services as a key to better long-term outcomes for children. However, the realization soon came that most village teachers lacked any training and, too often, teacher professional development was a one-time affair and existing delivery systems had not reached those who are most in need of support.

Diklat Berjenjang, the Government of Indonesia’s programme to improve early childhood teachers’ professional development, aims to address these needs.

In 2016-2017, the Diklat Berjenjang enhancement project began to pilot innovative approaches to teacher professional development, aimed at increasing access and quality. The training adopted the following model: 48 hours of face-to-face training with teams of three locally based trainers, based on government basic-level modules and national standards. After this initial phase, the training was followed up by on-the-job assignments, visits to other teachers’ classrooms, and participation in meetings of local teacher cluster groups. Trainers were also provided with enhanced materials to encourage the use of more engaging methods and content that is more practical.

There has been significant improvements in village teachers’ skills following participation in professional development.  Overall scores on the MELE tool (Measuring Early Learning Environment) increased from pre- to post-training, including 6 out of 7 categories of teacher competence.

“The training boost my confidence as it help me make use of resources around me and turn them into learning materials. The exchange visit to nearby ECED facility allows me to see how my colleagues are interacting with children in their centres,” explains Nia Kurniasih (Participant of Basic Level – Diklat Berjenjang 2016) Guru PAUD Kober Al Hidayah, Desa Sirap Kecamatan Tanjung Siang Kabupaten Subang.

The teachers who enrolled in this programme gained competence in many aspects of good teaching and learning environments for young children: their interactions with children; attention to individual needs; use of curriculum themes; concrete, relevant math experiences, and more.

“Before joining the training, I did not know how to prepare toys that support children play or how to calm down an upset child. The training helped me prepare better for the daily activities and interact better with children,” says Siti Farida (Participant of Basic Level – Diklat Berjenjang – 2016) Community Teacher of Al Hidayah Play Group, Sirap Village, Tanjung Siang Sub-district, Subang District.

“I used to only teach the children reading and writing. But after participating in the training, I introduce literacy and numeracy through play. And I am happy to share my skills in the teacher cluster meeting,” adds Sipaami (Participant of Basic Level – Diklat Berjenjang 2016) Guru TK Al Hidayah, desa Pambusuang kecamatan Balanipa Kabupaten Polewali Mandar.

The project has aimed to establish a foundation for future implementation, sustainability, and scalability. Manuals and procedures developed during the pilot have helped villages, districts, and local institutions work effectively to plan training, monitor progress, and help villages access government funds newly available for teacher training.  Furthermore, local case studies are producing lessons that can be used in expansion of the approach in other districts. 

The Pilot was facilitated by collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Villages and 25 Local Government with support from the Australian Government and The World Bank. So far, more than 15,000 teachers have benefited from the training.

Going forward, funds from the UNESCO-Hamdan Prize will support the design of additional professional development packages at intermediate and advanced levels. Teachers are eager for further training, which will continue and deepen the pilot’s practical approaches.  Meanwhile, the government intends to greatly scale up implementation, using the pilot-developed resources to help village teachers be on the front lines of a major new effort to prevent stunted growth and promote stimulation of at-risk children from infancy onwards.

The UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers is awarded every two years to projects that have made outstanding contributions to improving the quality of teaching and learning, especially in developing countries or within marginalized or disadvantaged communities. The Prize was established in 2009, with funding from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of Dubai, Each winner receives US$ 100,000.

This year, the prize is awarded to three laureates from Chile, Indonesia and the United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Northern Ireland.