Low Income Teachers Rely on High Teaching Spirit to Continue Teaching

Amid their low income, Islamic preschool teachers never give up teaching their students. They only rely on their high teaching spirit to sincerely teach their students although they have to work side jobs to make ends meet.

Islamic preschool teachers.
Siti (left) teaches her students spelling Arabic writing. She is one of the Islamic elementary school teachers in Sukabumi with a low salary. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SUKABUMI – Islamic-based educational system in Indonesia doesn’t only include Islamic boarding schools in it. There are also Islamic elementary schools (MI), middle schools (MTs), high schools (MS), Islamic State University (UIN), and also Islamic preschools (MD) that spread in Indonesia.

As for MD, it is more formal than the usual Quran learning center for children in Ustaz’s houses. In MD, there are official teachers, a principal, and educational administrative staff that manage the school’s operational. Students of MD usually learn starting from after the Duhr prayer until evening.

However, teachers of MD schools also suffer from their low salaries. Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) found out that in an Islamic preschool in Sukabumi, Gegerbitung District, the teachers are only paid for IDR 100 to 250 thousand per month. In order to meet their daily needs, the teachers also work side jobs to increase their income.

Chevy Mulya is one of the preschool teachers. He has been teaching for five years in Cijureuy. Apart from being a teacher, Chevy also sells balance and mobile data to increase his income.

Another teacher called As Parman also has a similar situation as Chevy. Parman’s uncertain salary as an MD teacher in Karangjaya Village, Gegerbitung that rarely earns hundreds of thousand Rupiah per month forced the 39 years-old man to work a side job as a farm labor

“As farm labor, I only go to the field if there is a job request for me,” said As Parman.

Resdiana Pratama from ACT Sukabumi Program team explains that the majority of Islamic preschools’ (MD) operational funds in Sukabumi 100 percent came from student tuition. The funds are used to support the schools’ various activities and operations including paying the teachers. Therefore, the teachers' salaries are very low, because it is also impossible to charge the children with high tuition as many of them come from underprivileged families.

“These teachers passionately teach their students with their high teaching spirit and willingness to make the next Muslim generation have a wide knowledge of religion from an early age,” said Resdiana, Wednesday (10/6/2021).

In MD, the students receive a lot of Islamic knowledge not only reciting the Quran but also tajweed, hadith, fiqh, Islamic history, also creed and morality,” added Resdiana.[]