Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) led a ceremony to celebrate National Teachers` Day and the Association of Indonesian Teachers` (PGRI`s) 72nd Anniversary at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, West Java, on December 2, 2017.
During the celebration attended by nearly 40 thousand people, the head of state greeted and reverently paid tribute to all teachers of Indonesia by bowing down in front of tens of thousands of teachers present at the event.
President Jokowi has stated that the teachers` quality must be offset with their welfare.
"Of course, their welfare must be improved in line with the ability of the state; hence, I request that the (teachers`) certification process be implemented properly. I also call for the timely payment of the appropriate professional allowances for teachers who have been certified," Jokowi stated.
The president further noted that he will monitor the entire process of disbursement of allowances to teachers, who have been allocated by the government.
The second point included in the president`s directive is the simplification of administrative affairs that have posed a barrier to teachers.
"I entrust the minister of education and culture, minister of state apparatuses and administration reform, governors, district heads, and mayors to deal with the issue. If public service is better, open, and transparent, then the system of governance of teachers working at the central and local levels can also become faster, more effective, and efficient," the president remarked.
The head of state then pointed out that the government will overcome the shortage of teachers in stages in line with the government`s ability.
The president also remarked that while appointing teachers, the government will prioritize meritocracy and those having devoted a long period of time in teaching as a career.
"Do not lock up their opportunities. Teachers, with 3Ts, including those in leading positions, in the outer islands and underdeveloped regions, who have served for decades and have the competence and qualifications, should be given priority. The government will not overlook those teachers who have served persistently," he revealed.
The president urged the Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of State Apparatuses and Administration Reform, as well as the local governments to coordinate and ensure that the recruitment process to tackle the shortage of teachers is carried out optimally.
President Jokowi also drew attention to another key aspect that the nation`s future lies in the hands of teachers across the country.
"To this end, I laud and highly commend all teachers in the homeland, including those in villages, remote islands, outer islands, and border areas," noted the president, who said he could serve as the head of state at this time owing to the services offered by teachers.
"I expect all teachers to continue to dedicate themselves to this nation by not only teaching but also carrying out their professional duties optimally for the future of this nation," the president noted.
According to the president, teachers should nurture and enlighten the students to build a healthy, mature, and understanding generation that believes in the principle of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, or Unity in Diversity.
In addition, Jokowi explained that technological advancements cannot replace the role of teachers, as it is prophetic and in addition to teaching academics they also impart sound values to the younger generation.
Character education can be imparted by teachers to carry out the humanitarian mission and by probing, awakening, inviting, and encouraging the spirit of honesty and goodness in students.
"The commemoration of National Teachers` Day should offer the necessary momentum to us to prepare the younger generation that is responsive and tough," the president noted.
Among those attending the commemoration ceremony were Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, and Chairperson of PGRI Unifah Rasyidi.
According to Rosyidi, Indonesia has some three million people. However, she expressed grave concern that temporary teachers in the country are underpaid, receiving only some Rp300 thousand (or around US$20) per month.
Meanwhile, the Jokowi administration has emphasized the need to improve educational services in the remote, frontier, and outer areas, as one of the nine key programs, in addition to the construction of physical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, dams, ports, and airports.
Hence, the Ministry of Education and Culture had recently sent 80 teachers, under the Teachers on the Frontline program, to Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, to support teaching in remote schools in the area.
Secretary of the Biak district administration Markus Oktovianus Mansnembra lauded the assignment of teachers in Biak Numfor.
He acknowledged that the placement of teachers was aimed at filling their shortage in various primary schools and junior high schools in Biak Numfor District.