Indonesian Teachers Union Rails Against Competency Test
Natasia Christy Wahyuni
The Indonesian Teachers Union called on Thursday to halt the government’s ongoing teacher competency test, saying it was not an accurate gauge of teachers’ skill level.
Sulistiyo, chairman of the union known as PGRI, said the test, which is administered online, had many problems, including online access issues and poorly phrased questions.
Some questions, he said, lacked any right answer, while others referred to accompanying text, illustrations or charts that were not actually provided.
“After evaluating reports from various regions concerning implementation of the teacher competency test, PGRI concludes that the test should be halted,” he said.
Implementation of the test, which is better known as UKG, has been “chaotic,” he said, adding that the government needed to prepare a better version of the test before administering it.
He said UKG was intended to gauge how teachers were performing so they could map out strategies for improvement.
But because the Education and Culture Ministry required a minimum score of 70 percent to pass, he said, some teachers were worried their test results would determine whether or not they could keep their jobs.
“I was really surprised that there was a notification about a 70 percent passing grade,” he said. “That negates the initial intention [of the test] as a mapping tool. This is making teachers worried, and it’s giving rise to panic and pressure.”
If the Education and Culture Ministry pushed forward with the current test and its analysis, he added, it could be accused of wrongfully sullying the good name of teachers.
“The results won’t illustrate teachers’ competency, which is needed to give them guidance [on how to improve their performance],” he said. The test “could even become counterproductive to efforts to improve education.”
Meanwhile, Retno Listyarti, secretary general of the Indonesian Teachers Federation (FSGI), agreed that the test questions were poorly compiled, with some that were poorly phrased and others that were impossible to answer.
She said the test had caused confusion because teachers were given questions unrelated to their fields of study.
She added that some teachers were not technology savvy and therefore needed training before they could properly take the test online.
“The Education and Culture Ministry has to review its UKG policy, which is clearly a waste of state money,” she said.
Officials have said about one million teachers with teaching certificates would take the competency test between July 30 and Aug. 12. The test can only be taken online or manually at designated locations around the country.