Culture and elementary and secondary education minister Anies Baswedan has warned schools to follow his instruction to stop using the 2013 curriculum or the ministry will halt support for them.
He reasoned that because the previous government had implemented the curriculum after only a one-year trial, many schools were evidently not ready to take it on.
"The curriculum must be revised first before we try to implement it again. Schools that insist on still using it will not receive any support or supervision from the ministry, which means they'll just be making it hard for themselves," Anies said yesterday.
Last week, the minister decided to stop the nationwide implementation of the much-criticised 2013 curriculum, which was first implemented by his predecessor, Muhammad Nuh, and has ordered schools to return to the 2006 curriculum.
Anies acknowledged that the ministry had received complaints from several regencies about the sudden suspension, most of them citing the already printed textbooks they had ordered in preparation for the 2013 curriculum.
However, he insisted that the suspension was urgent as various problems related to the curriculum were clearly evident.
"We've already ordered the schools to pay for the books and store them in the library for the meantime. The suspension is essential so that we can focus on giving proper training to teachers and focus on revising the curriculum," he said, adding that it would standardise education across the nation.
Even so, Anies decided that 6,221 pilot schools that had used the 2013 curriculum for the past three semesters could continue to use it, while more than 200,000 schools were required to return to the 2006 curriculum having used the 2013 one for only one semester.
Anies said that the 6,221 schools were more prepared to teach the 2013 curriculum in a way that would be beneficial to young students.
"If someone who wasn't trained well tried to teach children then they would feel like they weren't learning anything. All of the burden would be on the child," he said.
Although Indonesian Teachers Association (SGI) secretary-general Retno Listyarti applauded the curriculum suspension, she criticised his decision to let thousands of schools continue using it.
"The minister's decree is confusing as he has essentially let there be two curriculums in one existing education system. So it's no surprise that several regions are trying to take advantage of this loophole," she told The Jakarta Post.
Retno said that she had received reports from fellow educators that wanted to return to the 2006 curriculum but had been pressured by their respective provincial education agencies not to do so because of the costs already expended in the preparations.
In order to avoid this, she said, Anies should have suspended the curriculum for all schools so that there were no opportunities for schools to continue using it.
"The 2013 curriculum should have been totally stopped and the ministry should use the first year to really analyse and revise it," she said.
Retno said that the revised curriculum should then be tested in several schools in the second year, before being revised and tested again in the third year.
"Full implementation would be done after four years. By this time the teachers would have hopefully been trained properly and continuously," she said.