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Much Ado about Improving Teacher Quality

December 1st, 2017

A recent article published in Kompas on November 28th 2017, strikes a chord with one of Titian’s causes, which is embodied in our Teacher Quality Improvement (TQI) Programme.

The article stresses the challenges involved in improving teacher quality and capacity. Whilst government imposes certification as a means to set quality standards, but it is argued that this only touches on teachers’ cognitive side, while teachers’ capacity should encompass much more than that. It needs to include their skills, creativity, innovation, personality and disposition to become a role model, as explained by Dr. Alwen Bentri, M.Pd, Dean of the Faculty of Education from Padang State University.

Alwen further explained that the teacher training that is currently provided by government is not sustainable. Teachers are left on their own after training is completed, with no attempt to even evaluate or measure the impact of their cognitive abilities and behavior.

In Titian, TQI training is conducted of a similar duration to the government’s, which is two-weeks in seclusion. TQI aims to improve teachers’ pedagogy, social and personality skills. Here, teachers are being introduced to fun ways of teaching, using creativity and games and also encourages them to take fresh look at their noble profession.

However, what essentially differs to other teacher training is the three-months mentoring after their training is completed that Titian’s TQI provides. Periodical meetings with teacher participants serves to ensure TQI’s successful application and as medium to share their triumph and discuss solutions to their obstacles. This mentoring activity is Titian’s way to address concerns on sustainability.

The feedback we receive from our TQI alumni on the impact of TQI are mostly encouraging. Most noticeable improvements are on students’ rapport with their teachers and a lowering of students’ absenteeism, and hence students’ academic scores and the schools’ rating are also improved as the result. These can be achieved because teachers’ approach to teaching and connecting with their students are “revolutionized”.

To date, TQI has brought benefit to more than 1,800 teachers in 562 schools in the Yogyakarta and Klaten areas since the programme rolled out in 2010. While TQI’s contribution is modest, Titian hopes to be able to spread this great and effective programme to many more teachers in Indonesia.