top 10 facts about girls’ education in Indonesia
Education in Indonesia has reached gender parity, with no significant gender gap in enrollment percentages. However, the schools there continue to reinforce gender stereotypes through their teachings. The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Indonesia explore issues within the gender-biased curriculum as well as the changes being made to combat them.

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Indonesia

  1. In Indonesia, students’ enrollment in school seems no longer influenced by gender. According to UNICEF, 92.8 percent of girls and 92.7 percent of boys are enrolled in primary school. Also, 62.4 percent of girls and 60.9 percent of boys are enrolled in secondary school. Therefore, gender parity is a notable accomplishment among the top 10 facts about girls’ education in Indonesia.
  2. However, schools in Indonesia tend to have gender-biased textbooks. In these textbooks, men are cited more often than women and there are more illustrations of boys than girls. Within the illustrations, boys are shown in more diverse roles while girls are shown in more stereotypically feminine roles.
  3. Gender stereotyping is also projected in the way students are conditioned to choose their subjects of interest. Women in Indonesia prefer subjects like Social Sciences while men prefer subjects like Technical Sciences. While women are discouraged to choose subjects such as Math or Biology, men are discouraged to choose subjects such as Humanities as they are considered feminine in nature.
  4. In Indonesia, girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school. According to UNICEF, for every 10 children that drop out of school at the secondary level, seven are girls. One of the primary reasons for this is early marriage and the stereotypical mindset of society.
  5. Close to 84 percent of men in Indonesia are in the labor force, while only around 51 percent of women occupy the same position. Also, most of the top government and private positions are held by men. As a result, there is a huge difference in pay between men and women in Indonesia. While the gross national per capita income for men stands at 13.391, for women it is as low as 6.668.
  6. On the brighter side, the PAUD KM 0 ‘Mekar Asih’ is an early education model that seeks to educate students equally without any gender discrimination. They provide a gender-neutral curriculum where children can see themselves in any role irrespective of their sex.
  7. Centers like PAUD ensure that both mother and father be equally involved in their child’s academic development. It is one of the ways in which they try to convey the idea of equality between the sexes to the children. For instance, the centers invite fathers to come in for storytelling in order to shatter the stereotypical image of women as caregivers.
  8. The PAUD KM 0 early education model has been adopted in over 300 districts and 34 provinces. The program also engages women and mothers by forming groups at various locations. They provide them with training by organizing workshops and through campaigning.
  9. According to Kurniati Restuningsih, Head of the Sub-Directorate of Curriculum, “The Ministry of Education and Culture promotes gender mainstreaming at an early age as a way to improve equality and diversity and eliminate gender discrimination which unfortunately still occurs in many communities.” The program seeks to empower girls at a young age to stay in education and pursue careers they would otherwise be stopped from pursuing.
  10. The Ministry of Education and Culture also conducts a Mothers of Early Childhood Education program called ‘Bunda PAUD’. The specialty of this program is that it is fully run by women, from First Lady, Irina Jokowi, to wives of governors, mayors, and regents. This is to provide girls with a strong female role model in a significant leadership position.

These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Indonesia highlight the issues with the gender-biased curriculum in Indonesia and also emphasizes the various efforts put forth by the Ministry of Education and Culture in order to close the gender gap.

– Anna Power
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Indonesia
Girls’ education in Indonesia is promising. In 2014, the World Bank noted that Indonesia’s education system is Asia’s third largest and the world’s fourth largest. Moreover, in 2016, the literacy rate for females between the ages of 15 and 24 was 99.65 percent. What makes Indonesia’s education system most noteworthy, however, is the response to Indonesia’s 2006 earthquake and the continuing developments in girls’ education.

Effects of the Yogyakarta Earthquake on Girls’ Education in Indonesia

After the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in 2006, approximately 1,000 schools were destroyed and 6,234 people were killed in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia. In response, organizations such as the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative expanded their efforts to improve girls’ education in Indonesia. In accordance with the Indonesia Earthquake 2006 Response Plan, school tents were provided by USAID, Save the Children, UNICEF and the Japanese government.

In cases of emergency, such as Indonesia’s Java earthquake, there are distinct benefits that education provides children. According to UNICEF, “Schools can protect children from the physical dangers around them…and also provide children with other lifesaving interventions, such as food, water, sanitation and health.”

In 2016, UNESCO recorded that 1.5 million Indonesia girls were not enrolled in school. Furthermore, according to UNICEF’s education fact sheet, only 40 percent of Indonesian girls aged 15 to 24 learn about HIV prevention measures and only 23 percent use condoms regularly. Also, 85 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 hold misconceptions or have no knowledge of HIV/AIDS.

Ongoing Efforts to Develop Girls’ Education

To improve these numbers, education and health services are targeted at the early childhood education level. The World Bank explained that “better-prepared children are less likely to repeat grades.” It has also been shown, according to the World Bank, that early childhood education is associated with healthier and better-educated children.

Since its formation in 2001, the Directorate for Early Childhood Education Program of the Ministry of Education and Culture seeks to provide education programs incorporated with health services. For example, the program implements day care centers and play groups for young children.

Programs such as this are made possible through a partnership with the World Bank. The initiative also addresses teacher training, as more than 60 percent of teachers have only a high school diploma or two years of college education. Teachers are recruited from Indonesian communities and are trained in early childhood development. As a result of efforts made by the Directorate for Early Childhood Education Program, Indonesia won the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education in 2016.

The project focused on instilling confidence and resilience within girls from birth to age eight. UNESCO reports that girls’ educational attainment levels can be strengthened through gender mainstreaming, which avoids gender stereotypes within the curriculum. More specifically, the project addressed children, parents, teachers and school administrators using specialized early childhood education training and workshops.

Education for girls is progressing. Timely responses were made after the 2006 earthquake when children’s schooling was disrupted. Educational aid and reform did not stop there, however, as the Early Childhood Education Program furthered recent improvements to communal learning and healthcare. These education programs demonstrate that increased opportunities for girls’ education in Indonesia are crucial for alleviating poverty. Girls with higher levels of education are more likely to have children later and their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS is lowered. Education is vital to their quality of life.

– Christine Leung
Photo: Flickr