“It’s ironic that Suharto is sometimes called ‘the father of development.’ It is much easier to be corrupt than be creative. No free thinkers allowed. Too dangerous. Creativity is all to easily snuffed out by corruption. Better just to be a consumer.”
Thomas and I are corresponding about “post-modern Jakarta”, but as I freely adapt quotes to fit my own theories (theses?), it serves as an indication that, as I frequently comment, the administrators of Indonesia – at all levels – rarely think about consequences when they do attempt free thinking.
A word they often use is ‘socialisation’, which they and we take to be the familiarisation of proposed laws and/or regulations intended to change societal behaviour.
My last post reviewed the business – although I prefer the word ‘profession’ – of TEFLing, the teaching of English to Indonesians.
A year ago, on October 2nd 2009, the then Minister of Education promulgated a new law, Act No.66 of 2009 About Granting Permission for Foreign National Teachers in formal and non-formal education units in Indonesia. It’s online in Indonesian here (.pdf).
In essence, the law sets out the procedures for the recruitment of native speaker teachers from abroad, procedures which have been in force for as long as I can recall.
Given the turmoil among TEFLers already here, it would appear that the bureaucrats in the Ministry (Depnikas) were not sufficiently ‘socialised’ regarding the changes in the law, even though they’ve had a full year to understand its intentions, but that could be because there are grey areas..
For example, (in the Google translation): Educators are required to have academic qualifications, competence, certificates and education personnel (are expected to be?) physically and mentally healthy, and have ability to support the realization of national education goals.
That sounds eminently sensible, until you read on.
Academic qualifications referred to [are] determined as follows:
a. educated at least masters degree from college accredited for education personnel on formal education units in elementary and secondary education, including nursery
(kindergarten), and higher education in the form of polytechnics and colleges;
b. educated at least doctorates from universities accredited for education personnel in higher education units the form high schools, universities and institutes.
A masters degree to teach in a kindergarten? A doctorate in education to teach in universities?
Who on earth would want to come to Indonesia with its paltry salaries if they’re so well qualified ‘back home’?
Or is this a reference to the academically low level of degrees awarded in Indonesian universities? Only 140 rank in this list of the world’s top 20,000 universities, with the highest ranked university, the Institute of Technology Bandung at 589. The figure isn’t good even for south-east Asia with ITB at 8th.
Then there are the health requirements, both physical and mental: New recruits are required to produce a certificate of good health and spirit, free of HIV / AIDS and free drugs from the hospital in the country concerned and to the check back / reset by the state hospital Indonesia.
I must admit that being of good spirit is a good thing. Unfortunately, Indonesia has a knack of making folk unhappy with its levels of corruption, pollution, and bureaucratic bloody-mindedness. Besides, how can you measure ‘good spirit’? Is every new recruit supposed to produce a psychotherapist’s report?
Regarding the requirement of a certificate from the home country showing that one is free from HIV/AIDS, this Wiki page states: Legal guidelines regarding HIV/AIDS do not exist although AIDS is a major problem in most countries in the region. Those infected with HIV traveling to Indonesia can possibly be refused entry or threatened with quarantine.
It’s that word “possibly” which throws Article 5.3a of the Act into legal doubt, especially as a new recruits are expected to undergo a further test at an Indonesian hospital.
For more on AIDS prevalence and preventation, see this page which in part reads as follows: One aim of the National AIDS Commission 2007-2010 HIV and AIDS Response Strategy is to provide an enabling environment where civil society can play a significant role, and stigma and discrimination are eliminated or at least minimized.
Until ALL visitors to Indonesia, whether dignatories, businessfolk, tourists or drug traffickers, are subject to the same rigorous rigmarole, Article 5.3a is clearly discriminatory and against government policy.
One final thought: Article 5.3b requires a personal statement [that foreign educators] will not engage in propaganda activities religious, or klandesten intelligence, not doing collection of funds in Indonesia, and other activities outside the permit granted.
Where can I get a permit to engage in “klandesten intelligence”?