How Important is the Education System for the Future of a Nation (2)

Then what about the English education system in Indonesia today? Based on data from the 2020 Global Ranking Index, Indonesia is in 74th place and is in the low category. Indonesia is also under other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. There are several factors that can cause Indonesia to lag behind other neighboring countries. One of them is the awareness of the importance of learning foreign languages, especially English which is used globally. Access to and quality of education is also a major factor, because Indonesia is an archipelago, and education infrastructure services are still not evenly distributed across all regions.

Today’s modern technology can be a solution to improve education in Indonesia. Of course, it is still with government assistance because not all people have funds and access to the internet. English education in Indonesia can be better with a more interactive and efficient learning system, by providing English language exercises that can hone and motivate students to think creatively and innovatively, such as quizzes, debates, and composing stories. Some of these examples can hone students’ writing and speaking skills and help them to advance to the highest level and be ready to compete globally. Students have different characters, not all can learn effectively through theory and memorization of material. Especially in learning English and other foreign languages, oral and visual exercises are more effective in training students’ language skills.

As quoted from the tirto.id article about Jo Kurnianingrat, the pioneer of English education in Indonesia. Jo Kurnianingrat is a native Indonesian who was born in Ciamis and raised in Yogyakarta. He is a fan of American films and that helped him become fluent in English. He is also fluent in Dutch having studied since he was 4 years old. During the colonial era, he only got the opportunity to learn Indonesian when it was compulsory during the Japanese occupation. After Indonesia’s independence, Jo’s English skills made it easier for him to mingle with foreign guests up to President Soekarno. He also received a scholarship to Sydney, Australia to take psychology classes and study the education system there. Two years after returning to Indonesia, he was appointed deputy head of the Inspection of English Language Teaching (IPBI) in charge of compiling a secondary school English language teaching curriculum and standards to replace Dutch. His contribution did not stop there, he returned to study linguistics at Cornell University in New York, America. After that he returned to teaching English at the University of Indonesia and was appointed Head of the Study Program (Kaprodi).

There are many lessons that can be taken from the life experience of Jo Kurnianingrat. He is an example of the desired outcome of Mendikbud Nadiem Makarim; someone who can contribute to society. The Minister of Education and Culture stated his vision to restore English education to the elementary school level. This is the right step because it is easier for humans to receive knowledge at an early age.

Of course, students must have the desire and discipline to learn so that they can get more effective results. For example, such as a baby who is just learning to walk, both the parent and the baby must move together. Babies may not have the awareness or desire to walk, but they have a strong sense of curiosity such as reaching for objects that require them to move. That’s what makes babies move on their own unconsciously, and parents help by providing direction and support. So actually we all have the ability to achieve our goals, we just need practice, support, and a strong desire to achieve them.

There will always be hope for those who pray, and there will always be solutions for those who are willing to put in the effort