Education in shadows of Covid-19

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Illustration by maduraindepth

A letter titled Guidelines for Commemorating National Education Day 2020 signed by the Minister of Education and Culture on April 29 clearly stated “Learning from Covid-19” as the theme of National Education Day this year. What can we learn from the condition of education during Covid-19 pandemic?

Sudden online approach

If there is a question, ”Which term is most often used, and in some cases ‘troubling’ in the realm of education during Covid-19 pandemic emergency response period?”, then e-learning may be one of them. The root of the problem is clear, the majority of learning tools designed for a ‘conventional’ or face-to-face learning must be quickly converted into online learning mode. ‘Sudden online approach’, maybe that’s the term. Many then experienced a cultural shock to the implementation of this ‘Sudden online approach’.

Teachers complain that they have to adapt to various new apps that have never been touched before. Students complain because there are too many assignments. Students complaints because their budget for internet has now doubled, and not all connections are smooth, especially in rural areas. Parents are also affected: while adapting to work from home or even looking for new ways to survive, they still have to accompany their children to do their assignments. The Covid-19 virulence is, therefore, so high that it can reach various joints of life, including the way a person learns and teaches.

Change the habit

If we look closely, this sudden online phenomenon actually inspired all education stakeholders in Indonesia to improvise and innovate in several ways. First, adding aspects of skills in using information technology as one of the important aspects in learning tools starting from the curriculum, semester learning plan (RPS) or Learning Implementation Plan (RPP), to the smallest details such as the ability to arrange questions and other learning activities both synchronously (direct online communication) and asynchronous(indirect). Act No. 20/2003 concerning the National Education System has actually regulated online learning, although using a different term, Distanced Learning (PJJ). Nevertheless, the challenges of implementing the mandate of the law are very complex including infrastructure, human resources’ readiness, and the substance of the material being taught.

Second, for these challenges, it is necessary to design an official and standard online learning platform that can be used easily for all educational institutions in Indonesia. So far, educational institutions still rely on external platforms, both free (open source) and paid. Data security and privacy issues have arisen, as has recently happened with one of the leading online video chat apps. The freedom of learning jargon should be followed up with a spirit of independence by creating app or an appropriate online learning platform giving a sense of security for its users.

Third, there should be online learning trainings that is structured, easily accessible, and ongoing. Therefore, productive policy is not only regulative but also accommodative and educative. In this case, the government is required to provide training and other forms of facility to accelerate the skills of teachers in utilizing various information technology features to support their teaching performance. The principle of collaboration between government, schools, colleges, and private or independent parties is worthy of being put forward because the intermediality, the principle of online learning prerequisites interdisciplinary abilities.

Fourth, the provision of cheap and equal internet access because the life of online learning is from the internet. In reality, the quality of the internet network is still uneven. Internet data credit rates are also not exactly cheap, especially during the implementation of Large Scale Social Distancing (PSBB) when the economy began to be significantly affected. The government should be able to facilitate the organization of online learning by providing free internet packages specifically for learning and teaching activities. It will not be difficult, it seems, as long as there is a willingness to intervene in the form of policies or collaborate with internet service provider companies.

Fifth, in the end, the biggest challenge is to change the learning and teaching habit that has been inherent in the community. It must be acknowledged that habit, in this case is an awareness scheme and practice owned by individuals, in learning and teaching is still very conventional: schools and campuses are places of learning and teaching. Beyond that, both learners and learners find it difficult to concentrate so that the quality of the teaching and learning process is reduced. At this point, the method of repeated behabior, of course, with the preconditions of the four things above, becomes mandatory to try. Consciousness cannot be changed instantly; even behavior requires disciplined techniques that are neat and continuous. Thus, sustainable investment in cultural, economic and social capital is needed to achieve this.

In the end, we never know when this pandemic ends, or whether this situation can happen again. Thus, the best course of action is to familiarize yourself with the online learning process while continuing to collaborate and explore ideas for the implementation of quality, fair and equitable education for every human being in Indonesia.

Author: Kukuh Yudha Karnanta Link related to the above article:

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).