ACTNews, JAKARTA – News about an honorary teacher in Pandeglang, Banten, has recently surfaced and gone viral. He has to walk for three kilometers every morning to reach the school in which he teaches. Without asphalt road, he walks through the dirt road that often gets muddy after raining.
This story shows the difficult conditions of the teachers in Indonesia, especially the honorary teachers. Many of them only earn IDR 150,000 to 500,000 a month. Sometimes, the schools aren’t able to pay them on time due to lack of funds.
The Director General of Teachers and Education Personnel of the Ministry of Education and Culture Supriano, in a release on October 21, 2019, said that at the end of 2017, there were 735,825 honorary teachers in Indonesia. In December 2018, there was an increase of 41,000 honorary teachers.
Based on data gathered by Aksi Cepat Tanggap from various sources, there are at least 10 provinces that have the highest number of honorary teachers. They are West Java, East Java, Central Java, North Sumatra, and South Sumatra, South Sulawesi, Banten, Lampung, East Nusa Tenggara and Aceh.
ACT Program Director Wahyu Novyan said that many honorary teachers in various parts of the country enjoyed a very small salary. "In Mentawai, for example, the teachers in one of the local schools earn only IDR 500,000 a month. The school cannot always pay the teachers on time because of the difficult economic conditions. Nevertheless, the teachers keep tirelessly teaching the students, the future of this country," Wahyu said, Thursday (11/21).
Lukman is one of the honorary teachers in Open Junior High School 17 Bekasi. (ACTNews / Eko Ramdani)
The salary that these honorary teachers is too small compared to their daily needs. Many of them have to do side jobs after teaching. Lukman, for example, is an honorary teacher at Open Junior High School 17 Bekasi. After school, he will continue working packing honey products in order to make ends meet.
"I can’t rely only on my salary as a teacher, but it's not a problem. I devote myself as a teacher, teaching children who mostly come from economically disadvantaged families, "said Lukman, Thursday (11/21).
Ahead of the National Teachers’ Day which falls on the 25th of November, the difficulties faced by the honorary teachers leave us with something to ponder upon. Those who have devoted themselves to public education need more attention. For this reason, on the 2019 National Teachers’ Day, ACT will launch the Sahabat Guru Indonesia (Friends of Indonesian Teachers) program. "This program will provide assistance to honorary teachers throughout Indonesia, especially those who receive irregular and low salary," Wahyu Novyan explained.