By Felicia Hanitio, APC Indonesia
Principals play a crucial role in driving improvement of teaching and learning in schools, yet few education development efforts tackle the issue of school leadership. This gap in existing interventions was one of several findings highlighted by APC Indonesia’s Catalysing Productive Livelihood (2017) report, which pinpointed school leadership development as one of four priority areas of opportunity for philanthropists to help accelerate transformation in the fourth-largest education system in the world.
In response to this opportunity, three APC Indonesia members—Belinda Tanoto (Tanoto Foundation), Victor Hartono (Resinda Hotel Karawang and BMJ), and Arif Rachmat (PT. Triputra Agro Persada)—recently joined forces with Global School Leaders (GSL) to launch Indonesia’s first continuous professional development programme for principals in Karawang district, West Java. INSPIRASI, or Inisiatif Kepemimpinan Pendidikan untuk Raih Prestasi (“The Education Leadership Initiative for Student Achievement”), will begin with a 1.5-year pilot programme targeting 50 school leaders from 20 public primary schools and five primary-level Islamic schools (madrasah) across two sub-districts of Karawang.
INSPIRASI’s launch was held on 18 July 2019 in Resinda Hotel Karawang and attended by a wide range of stakeholders whose involvement have been pivotal to the formulation of this programme: Dr. Cellica Nurrachadiana (Regent of Karawang), Santi Ambarukmi, (Director of Education Personnel, Ministry of Education and Culture [MoEC]), Kastolan, (Subdirectorate Head for Senior-Secondary Teachers and Education Personnel, Ministry of Religious Affairs [MoRA]), H. Dadan Sugardan (Head of the Education, Youth and Sports Agency of Karawang), H. Sopian (Head of the Religious Affairs Office of Karawang), and representatives from INSPIRASI’s Board of Directors, donors, and partners. The launch event also coincided with the inaugural school leader workshop.
Learning from Global Best Practices in Developing School Leaders
Indonesia is the second country in which APC is collaborating with GSL co-founders Sameer Sampat and Azad Oommen to incubate a local nonprofit organisation, based on a global model originally developed in India and also featured in Catalysing Productive Livelihood—the India School Leadership Institute (ISLI). After previous success with GSL Malaysia launched a year and half ago, the GSL model was brought to Indonesia as its third country of work with the support of anchor funders Tanoto Foundation, Resinda Hotel Karawang, PT. Bukit Muria Jaya (BMJ), and PT. Triputra Agro Persada.
As in India and Malaysia, the INSPIRASI approach will combine workshops and on-the-job learning that focuses on enabling school leaders to make independent, data-driven decisions based on local needs and conditions.
Patrya Patrya, Executive Director of INSPIRASI, relayed his hopes for the pilot batch of school leaders in his opening address during the launch: “The most important message today is that schools can progress when they are led by effective principals. Principals are the equivalent of company CEOs who play a central role in inspiring and motivating teachers, students, parents, and all stakeholders toward a common goal—for schools to run smoothly and students to attain a better future. INSPIRASI hopes to play a small part in helping each of you achieve this goal.”
Private-Public Partnership to Achieve National Human Capital Development Goals
The INSPIRASI collaboration is a prime example of public-private partnership to support President Joko Widodo’s national vision for human capital development, the focus of his second term in office. INSPIRASI’s choice of pilot district is strategic in the pursuit of this national vision. As a rapidly developing industrial area located two hours away from Jakarta and with the highest minimum wage in Indonesia, Karawang requires a quality workforce that must be shaped from an early age through quality education, steered by competent school leaders.
“All children should have the same opportunity for a high-quality education. Our role as the philanthropic sector is to help realize this aspiration,” stated Satrijo Tanudjojo, Global CEO of Tanoto Foundation, during his speech. “However, such a task can only succeed with the government’s support, whether at the local or national level.”
Karawang regent Dr. Cellica Nurrachadiana relayed her enthusiastic support of private-public partnerships for human capital development, a common interest for all sectors. “[Developing globally competitive human resources] is not just a one- to two-year, or even three- to four-year process, but such an effort requires perhaps five to ten years. Consistency and commitment from all parties is imperative.”
According to MoEC Director of Education Personnel Quality Improvement Santi Ambarukmi, out of 300,000 principals in Indonesia, 211,000 have not been formally certified and trained as principals. Meanwhile, the national government’s budgetary allocation can only pay for the training and certification of 180,000 principals. INSPIRASI’s efforts are much needed and in line with the MoEC’s 6/2018 regulation which underlines the role of principals as school managers tasked with improving all aspects of school quality to ensure optimal student learning outcomes.
By the end of 2021, if the INSPIRASI pilot is successful in demonstrating impact on school leader effectiveness and student learning outcomes in Karawang, it will be scaled up to other districts and school levels, and eventually aim for adoption as a national model for government schools and madrasahs.