(Comparison) 2013 New Curriculum: A Revolution or a Fiasco?

“This country’s future depends on the country’s education, particularly its curriculum,” Mohammad Nuh declared. For the government and Nuh, the implementation of the new 2013 curriculum of Indonesia was a successful revolution because it abolished the old curriculum that expected the students to just merely sit and watch lectures. Nuh proudly announced the goal of the new curriculum: to make students active in lectures. I understand that Nuh wanted to follow most developed countries’ curriculums which aim to let students be active. However, despite the advantages that Nuh asserted, I believe that the new curriculum is a fiasco because it is very ineffective and is not suitable for Indonesia’s condition and culture.

The aspect that most 2013 curriculum victims worry is the effectiveness of the new curriculum since they believe that the old curriculum was more effective. Take the "giving homework" procedure change as an example. With the old curriculum, the teachers taught the students the basics first and gave them homework to advance their comprehension. On the other hand, the new curriculum is flawed. With the implementation of the curriculum, the students need to do a preliminary homework first before the teacher explain the chapter of the subject. Consequently, most students often find the homework hard. Some homework even expects the students to answer specific advanced question even though they have not learned the fundamentals yet. Therefore, what is the main point of giving homework if the students do not understand the basics of how to do it?

Every country has its own curriculum that mostly fits its condition. Currently, the ultimate factor for a student's graduation is the national exam. The old curriculum was very apt because for the national exam, theoretical approach is much more important than observatory approach. Additionally, with the "SNMPTN" admission route, universities would easily differ a student’s achievement to another’s as the grade was presented in numbers. On the contrary, as the new curriculum is implemented, the old system will be in trouble. Without maximum theoretical approach, the students will score badly on the national exam. Also, with the new grading system, which presents a student's achievement in letters rather than in numbers, universities will have trouble in comparing “A” grade of a student to that of another student. Thus, a big reformation will need to take place.

Lastly, education of a country is a reflection of its culture. The old curriculum was fitted for Indonesia because Indonesians are taught to respect older people. As a result, most of the students are reluctant to ask the teachers, and a passive teaching was a better approach. Not only in Indonesia, Taiwan also used the similar approach; however, Taiwan constantly ranks top-ten in country with best math and science ranking, beating European countries. Conversely, the new curriculum has some problems in rural areas, where the teachers are mostly conservative. They consider an argumentative student as an impolite student. The new approach is not fully implemented either because our “respect the older” culture is still prevalent. Only a few students be more active, but most still remain passive.

The government should have predicted whether the implementation of the new curriculum will be effective or not. Our country has its own preferences. Indonesia does not have to follow other countries’ curriculum if the old one is actually the better one. Nevertheless, as the new curriculum has taken place, I can only wish that a revolution for our education's productivity would happen in Jokowi’s presidency.


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