ENGLISH SYLLABI IN THE INDONESIAN CONTEXT: HISTORICAL SKETCH


Based on the National System of Education Act of Indonesia Number 20/2003, curriculum is a set of plans and arrangement covering education goals, contents, learning material, and learning methods intended as the guidelines in implementing the teaching and learning process to achieve the goals that have been set.

According to Dit. PSMP/Directorate of Junior High School Development (2009), the government of Indonesia has issued different curricula: the 1947 Curriculum, 1952 Curriculum, 1968 Curriculum, 1975 Curriculum, 1984 Curriculum, 1994 Curriculum, Competence Based Curriculum 2004, and the School-Based Curriculum which followed the establishment of the Content Standard in 2006. Such changes are done because curriculum generally needs some revision, adaptation, changes, and replacement. The discussion of this historical sketch of English syllabi starts from the 1968 Curriculum.

A.    The 1968 Curriculum

In addition to the juridical aspects, the 1968 Curriculum was developed on the basis of the political, social, economic, and cultural aspects (Dit. PSMP, 2009). Concerning with political situation at that time, the education was expected to become the powerful tools in producing and shaping Indonesians who reflected the country’s five principles; Pancasila, religious, humane, patriotic, democratic, and socially just. The social situation required that the education should be oriented towards the spirit of togetherness (gotong royong spirit) that regardless of racism. Meanwhile, the economic situation demanded the development of Indonesian human labor in all aspects. Finally, from cultural aspect, the education was treated as tools in developing and enriching the national identity and culture.

The structure of the 1968 Curriculum was separate-subject curriculum, whereby the subject content is logically and systematically sequenced, and each subject is separate from others (Dit. PSMP, 2009). Concerning with the teaching of English, the skills that more developed in this curriculum were reading skill. the language skills that were developed in order are reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The Audio-Lingual Method (ALM) was adopted in the curriculum and syllabus.

B.     The 1975 Curriculum

The themes of developing the 1975 Curriculum were to synchronize the curriculum of junior high school with senior high school. Therefore, there were five principles adopted: program flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness, orientation to objective, continuity, and life-long education. The subjects were categorized into general education subjects, academic education subjects, and skills education subject. General and academic education subjects were compulsory, whereas skills education subject was elective. The objective of English teaching in 1975 syllabus emphasize the mastery of linguistic patterns, without giving proper attention to their use in real communication situations. The method adopted was the Instructional System Development Procedures (Prosedur Pengembangan Sistem Instruksional/PPSI).

 C.    The 1984 Curriculum

This curriculum consisted 85 % of the total education program as a core program and 15 % of the elective program. The approach adopted in this curriculum covered student active learning as well as process-oriented approach. The concept of Mastery Learning was introduced to implement this curriculum into classroom practice.

The English syllabus adopted Communicative Approach with an emphasis on the development of reading skill. The materials were presented in several sections. Each section stood by itself that concerned one language skill. Although the final objective of teaching English in this curriculum was meaningfulness and communicative function, the English teaching was focused on the mastery of English grammar. It happened because the syllabus users lack of adequate information about the implementation of curriculum. Therefore, there was misinterpretation and imperfect implementation of the communicative approach. There seemed to be a number of inconsistencies between the objective, the content, the approach, and the evaluation system; the main objective focused on reading skill development; the content was structure-oriented; the approach was communicative; and the evaluation system adopted discrete model on grammar mastery.

D.    The 1994 Curriculum

In this curriculum, the semester system was changed to four months system that means one academic year consisted of three terms. The general objective of English teaching was to develop reading skill, in addition to listening, speaking, and writing skill. The approach adopted is a communicative approach that has been redefined to suit English teaching situation in Indonesia. The approach is labeled as meaningfulness approach which can be interpreted into two ways: meaning based instruction and meaningful instruction.

Furthermore, the 1994 English syllabus attempted to integrate the content of the component. Another feature is that it consisted of national content which was implemented nationally; enrichment content which was implemented who had achieved national content; and local content which was intended to meet the regional or local needs of the students.

 

  • E.     The 2004 Curriculum (The Competence-Based Curriculum/CBC)

 

The CBC curriculum is oriented towards: (1) the attainment of learning result and learning outcomes by students after experiencing various meaningful learning activities; and (2) variability of relevant aspects which are manifested according to the result of need assessment. The teaching and learning aim at empowering individual learners to achieve the competences that have been set in order to encourage life-long learning and create learning community.

This curriculum basically never officially launched, it appears through limited testing in some schools for curriculum validation and moderation. This curriculum adopted the schematic representation of communicative competence by Celce-Murcia et al. (1995, cited in Agustien, 2003).

F.     The School-Based Curriculum/SBC

SBC refers to the operational curriculum that is developed and implemented by individual schools referring to the Content Standard. It is understood as syllabus developed in school levels. The content and the objective of the SBC development remain the same as the typical characteristics of CBC, that s attaining the competence standards as well as the basic competences. SBC offers greater flexibility for schools to develop their own curriculum, still referring to the nationally established standard.

The SBC is developed by following these principles: centering on potentials; considering global as well as local changes and learners’ needs; being diverse and integrated; being sensitive towards the advancement of technology, science, and arts; being comprehensive and continuous; encouraging life-long learning; and balancing the national and local needs.

Sources: Cahyono, B. Y. & Widiati, U. 2011. The Teaching of English as a Foreign Language in Indonesia. Malang; State University of Malang Press.

 

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