Students at a junior high school prepare to take a computer-based national exam last year. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

No More Recess: Gov't to Overhaul School System


MAY 28, 2020

Jakarta. The Women Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry says it is preparing "new normal" guidelines for schools that will be closely based on Covid-19 health protocols.

"We will overhaul the school system according to the 'new normal' guidelines. Schools need to get themselves ready to conduct classes online and offline," Ciput Eka Purwanti, the ministry's assistant deputy for child protection, said on Thursday.


Ciput said the ministry has made recommendations for reducing school hours and cutting recess. 

"School should be limited to a maximum of four hours a day with no recess," she said.

Ciput said the ministry has learned lessons from Australia, which has trialed reopening schools with only two classes. 

Schools in Indonesia should trial running more classes in shifts, according to Ciput. 

"There will be a one-hour interval between shifts. This will allow students to come to school and go home at different times and prevent them from gathering in school areas," she said.

Schools also have to install more hand-washing facilities to prevent long queues for students when they want to wash their hands.

However, Ciput admitted schools that lack access to clean water will find it difficult to follow the new regulations. 

"Ministries and state agencies responsible for clean water infrastructure should work together to help these schools," Ciput said.

The Women Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry is already working with other ministries and state agencies to prepare the new school protocol.

"We've discussed the issue with the Education and Culture Ministry and the Covid-19 Task Force. Next week, we'll discuss it with the Religious Affairs Ministry to work out the protocols for Islamic boarding schools and madrasahs," she said.

Parents to Step In

In the new system, parents are expected to take on a greater role in assisting their children with online learning. 

"Parents should step in more to accompany their children when they study at home," Ciput said. 

Parents should start educating their children about the health protocol to prevent coronavirus transmission, including washing hands frequently, wearing masks, keeping a safe distance with friends and not touching the face.

Parents should also make sure their children get enough nutrition to support their immune system. 

"In many countries, few children contract Covid-19. But it's different in Indonesia. Here 5 percent of Covid-19 patients are children aged 0 to 17," Ciput said.

According to ministry, the high rate of Covid-19 infection among children in Indonesia is caused by lack of awareness about the disease. 

"Many parents have not trained their children to follow public health guidelines. They should lead by example," she said.