Indonesian Teachers Studying At UB to Support Country's Move to Industrialization

Release Date: June 26, 1995 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Eighteen Indonesian school teachers -- all but two of whom left families and children behind in Indonesia to take part in the project -- arrived at the University at Buffalo earlier this month to begin two years of postgraduate study to become master teachers.

They are part of an extensive teacher-retraining program undertaken by the Indonesian government as part of an effort to transform the country into an industrialized nation within 25 years.

In support of the Indonesian effort, the World Bank Second Secondary Education and Management Project is funding the overseas education of 132 teachers, including the 18 at UB, who will return home with new professional skills to serve as agents of change. This group, along with nearly 16,000 teachers trained at home, will help supervise the retraining and professional upgrading of the country's 189,000 teachers.

The UB participants, representing five Indonesian provinces and several teaching fields, are the only ones who will attend school in the United States. They arrived here June 10 and have already begun training in English for academic purposes through the university's Intensive English Language Institute.

Their two years of graduate study begins this fall through the UB Graduate School of Education. They will complete master's degrees in learning and instruction in the fields of science (physics, biology, chemistry), mathematics, English, foreign-language instruction and social studies.

The UB program is headed by William Cummings, director of the UB Center for Comparative and Global Studies in Education. Richard Harrington, a doctoral student in comparative education and Cummings' administrative assistant, is coordinating the teachers' stay and will teach a course introducing them to the U.S. educational system.

According to Cummings, Indonesia is implementing a universal nine-year basic education program, an addition of three years to the country's compulsory education requirement.

This will require an enormous effort in a nation made up of 17,000 islands with a population of 180 million in 300 ethnic groups who speak 250 dialects.

It will necessitate increased institutional capacity and improvements in the quality of education, as well as the imposition of national norms in a nation whose schools are generally organized and run locally.

The government maintains, however, that the new education system is necessary in order to strengthen work-force skills in the fields of science, technology, economics, culture and communications, and to make Indonesia competitive industrially.

The World Bank project is assisting by allowing teachers to take advantage of strong teacher and administrator training programs at foreign universities, most of them in Australia and other United Kingdom nations.

When the participants return to Indonesia, they will introduce innovative teaching and learning methods for different content areas, provide instructional leadership in teacher training and help establish and administer regional teacher-training centers.

Harrington said the UB program is designed to acquaint the teachers with the latest developments in curriculum and instruction, with emphasis on approaches that stress active learning. It will assist them in mastering effective presentation skills that they can then employ as master teachers in their local settings. Their program also will include visits to, and the study of, American school systems in New York and other states.

The teachers are now housed in Goodyear Hall on UB's South (Main Street) Campus, but will eventually find housing off campus. Harrington said that, given financial considerations, it is unlikely that many of the teachers will be able to return home for visits during their two-year stay in Buffalo.

Media Contact Information

Patricia Donovan has retired from University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, call 716-645-6969 or visit our list of current university media contacts. Sorry for the inconvenience.