Three Serious Issues of Honorary Teachers in Indonesia

There are three serious issues of honorary teachers in Indonesia, namely, status, welfare, and quality of teachers.

Illustration. Dharwanto, an honorary teacher in Pekalongan, teaches in the class. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SOUTH JAKARTA – The problem of honorary teachers in Indonesia is still an issue that must be taken seriously, starting from welfare issues to the quality of teachers.

Muhammad Ramli Rahim, Chairman of the Indonesian Teachers Association (IGI), in Sahabat Guru Indonesia Timur Webinar held by PPI UK with ACT in February 2021, says there are three serious issues of honorary teachers in Indonesia, namely:

Unclear employment status

According to Ramli, in many areas, honorary teachers do not have an educational decree. However, they can teach at school. This unclear status makes honorary teachers unable to do and get many things.

“They do not have the decree from the principal, let alone a decree from mayor or regent. Nonetheless, they can teach at school,” said Ramli in the webinar.

Ramli added that honorary teachers in private schools are sometimes in better condition than public schools. Honorary teachers in private schools get a decree from the foundation. "With this foundation decree, they can join Program Pendidikan Profesi Guru (Teacher Professionalism Training Program). Later, they can get teacher certification allowances after passed the training,” he said.

The welfare of the teacher

Ramli emphasizes that if the teacher’s status is unclear, it can affect their welfare. For example, in Maros Regency, the income of elementary school teachers is IDR 100 thousand per month. They receive it every three months or six months.

“Can you imagine how they live with that small salary?” he said. This fact bothered the honorary teachers, so they decided to quit being teachers.

However, when they quit, their students came to their house to persuade the teacher to go back to school. They ended up returning to school. “They still want to teach at school because of their passion,” he explained. 

Ramli continues, most high-quality education graduates choose to continue their education, become a lecture, and work in other fields that have high salaries. Only those who have a strong will and passion for education will become teachers at school.

The quality of teacher

The quality of honorary teachers is questionable. According to Ramli, the recruitment system is also unclear. For example, English teachers cannot speak English, religious subject teachers do not want to Friday preaching, and mathematics teachers cannot count.

Apart from that, honorary teachers have never participated in competency training. Hence, they cannot improve their quality despite changes and quality improvements of teachers.[]