Poverty Faced by Honorary Teachers Still a Problem that Needs to be Solved Together

As Indonesia commemorates National Teachers’ Day, we reflect on the problem of poverty faced by honorary teachers. It is an issue that must be solved together by Indonesia as a nation, including the policymakers and communities.

honorary teachers
Usman, an honorary teacher in Belat Village, Belat District, Karimun Regency. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, JAKARTA, KARIMUN, WEST PASAMAN – As Indonesia commemorates National Teachers’ Day, we reflect on the problem of poverty faced by honorary teachers in many Indonesian regions. In many areas, teachers are struggling just to make ends meet.

Usman, an honorary teacher in Belat Village, Belat District, Karimun Regency, receives a salary of IDR 700,000. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his salary was cut to IDR 600,000.

"We accept it. It’s for our common good. We hope that the pandemic will be overcome immediately,” said Usman when met by ACT Batam, Friday (11/19/2021).

Devi Indra, another honorary teacher in Kapar Village in Nan Duo District, West Pasaman Regency, also faces the same problem. Deprivation forces her to make ends meet by selling rice cakes (ketupat) and crackers.

“I only earn IDR 350,000 a month from teaching. To make ends meet, I sell ketupat and crackers with an income of IDR 300,000,” explained Devi who is a mother of two to ACT West Pasaman, Saturday (11/20/2021).

Rizky Andriani, Global Zakat – ACT’s PIC of the Friends of Indonesian Muslim Preachers program, opined that National Teachers’ Day is not only a moment for us to appreciate teachers for their role in educating the nation. It should also serve as a moment for us to reflect.

“Let’s take a moment to ponder that, in the National Teachers’ Day of 2021, there are still many honorary teachers who struggle with poverty despite their essential role in educating the nation,” he said.

Rizky further added that it’s not only the government’s job to improve teachers’ welfare. Non-governmental parties can also take part in helping to alleviate poverty in honorary teachers.

Since 2019, Global Zakat – ACT has been helping the honorary teachers through the Friends of Indonesian Teachers program that channels zakat funds from zakat donors to teachers in need.

The challenge faced by teachers in educating students in this era is recognized by the Minister of Education and Culture, Research and Technology Nadiem Anwar Makarim. In his remarks at the 2021 National Teachers’ Day Commemoration Ceremony, Nadim said, during the Covid-19 pandemic, teacher performance experiences extraordinary challenges.

"Teachers all over Indonesia cry seeing their students getting bored, lonely, and losing discipline. Not only psychological pressure due to Long-Distance Learning (PJJ), many teachers experience economic pressure to fight for their families so they can eat," said Nadiem, Thursday (11/25/2021).

Furthermore, Nadiem explained that there are many things that need to be improved in the education system in Indonesia: facilities for teachers, simplification of the curriculum, as well as the economic welfare of the teachers.

"Teachers throughout Indonesia want a fair opportunity to achieve human welfare," he explained. []