Wed, 24 Aug 1994

5-day school week to be phased in

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro says schools will be encouraged to implement the short five-day working week in phases.

Wardiman was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency as saying yesterday that he does not foresee any problem in implementing the shorter school week.

Many education experts have predicted logistical and technical problems in implementing the scheme, especially given that many school buildings are still being used by more than one institution under the arrangement of morning and afternoon shifts. They said the schools could cram 42 hours of study as suggested by the national education curriculum but this will upset the shift arrangements.

Others argue that the short school week would also upset the schedule of many teachers because they are teaching in more than one schools to make ends meat. Teachers are among the lowest paid profession in Indonesia.

Wardiman said however that the problems could be iron out if the schools move into the short working week in phases.

The ministry of education will monitor closely the trial operation of the scheme at selected schools and make an evaluation which will be made available to other schools.

He said if the scheme turned out to improve the students' performance, then the schools should go ahead and implement it in full. But if the learning process is affected, then these schools should not hesitate to halt the scheme.

The five-day school week complements the five-day working week scheme now being tried at most government agencies.

The proposal came from President Soeharto who said that a shorter working would allow people to spend more time with their family, which in turn could boost their productivity.

Most private companies and some state enterprises have already introduced the shorter working week. The government hopes that the five-day working week will be fully implemented at all its agencies by Aug. 17, 1995 when Indonesia marks its 50th independence anniversary. (rms)