This essay aims to show how Covid-19 has affected Indonesian education and Merdeka Belajar’s guiding principles. The effects of COVID-19 on Indonesian education and their connection to the “Merdeka Belajar” doctrine “have impacted the manner teachers are teaching, reduced access for pupils to learn, and has produced a learning gap owing to economic disparity (TheJakartapost, 2021).” Students in Indonesia have missed out on nearly six months of instruction. Losses can be higher if schools are kept closed during the epidemic.
Despite not being a wealthy nation, Indonesia tries to facilitate students by giving them all the assistance they require for online learning. Any country faces difficulties with online education, but Indonesia’s are particularly severe given the enormous variety of geographic difficulties it faces. “Only 40% of Indonesians, primarily in urban areas, have a connection to the internet.”
“These are the subjects where most learners find doing any online education can be very challenging… We must ensure that children with limited internet access and unstable energy do not fall far behind (TheJakartapost, 2021). The Indonesian government is attempting to give educators and students access to free internet bandwidth, TV programs, and the choice of a curriculum with fewer requirements.
The effects of COVID-19 are so profound that even first-world nations find it difficult to accommodate pupils because there are so many difficulties with online learning, particularly for younger students in primary schools. As a result of the suspension of educational activities, Indonesia’s national curriculum was streamlined, online learning modules were developed, the Learning Management System (LMS) platform was reinforced, free internet was made available, and both teachers and students received specialized training (Anugrahsari et al., 2021).
“Teachers are working tirelessly to educate youngsters to the best of their abilities.” (From (TheJakartapost, 2021)) “However, kids from low-income households and rural locations are disadvantaged as a result of the upheaval of established educational systems. These pupils already encounter educational access challenges under typical circumstances (Anugrahsari et al., 2021).In order to avoid the spread of the virus and to give kids a secure place, the Indonesian government is making sure that all the schools and Madrasahs have available restrooms and handwashing stations.
Another significant difficulty is the amount of space required for pupils in classes; typically, classroom size is determined by the number of students it can hold. Social isolation is difficult yet necessary to inhibit the virus’s spreading. The Covid-19 social distancing Regulations are being followed by their schools, which go above and beyond to make accommodations for students in the classroom (MaipitaIndra et al.,2021). Teachers are required to evaluate students before they return to class to determine what they have retained and what they have missed.
Teachers have access to all the resources necessary from the moment they arrive to the start of classes, thanks to the ministry of education. Because they do not have access to tools like the internet and computers at home, underprivileged children suffer more. These kids lack access to online resources that allow them to stay current (Anugrahsari et al., 2021). A comparable assessment was also planned and publicized by the department of religious affairs.
The most significant obstacle is increasing internet connectivity for online and distance learning. The need for these facilities is greatest in specific places, according to a ministry that focuses on those areas. Before the epidemic, all in Indonesia was so conventional and seamless, but this event transformed the education culture for distance learning (TheJakartapost, 2021).
Indonesia’s minister of education and culture formed four national education for young children to address all of these issues and abstractions. The speaker refers to these four program education policies as “Merdeka Belajar” (Kemdikbud, 2019). The curriculum consists of the National Standard School Examination (USBN), the National Examination (UN), one page of Lesson Plan (RPP), and Zoning Regulations for New Student Acceptance (PPDB). This term’s underlying philosophy stems from the idea that God not only created humans but also endowed them with free choice to select their paths.
This idea is quite similar to the Christian belief that God gave Adam and Eve free will when he placed them on the planet and allowed them to live independent lives. This philosophy and the idea of the Christian worldview are extremely similar. Merdeka According to the bell jar educational philosophy, pupils are allowed to learn calmly and unhurriedly without being pressured to pursue subjects that are not relevant to them (Maipita, Indra, et al.,2021), and this is because burdening them over their capacity will hinder their capacity to learn and grow, it is difficult for a wise teacher to subject them to a responsibility they do not enjoy. By this, the author is reminded of Brazilian educator Paolo Freire from Recife University. His most well-known teaching is that humanity must be free because man is the master of himself.
The article “The Impact of Covid-19 on Indonesian Education and Its Relation to the Merdeka Belajar Philosophy” claims this. Analytical, quality, articulate, transformational, effective, practical, diversified, progressive, real, and factual learning are characteristics of independent learning. Those that study independently will always be vivacious, upbeat, hopeful, creative, and daring to attempt new things. We all discover ways to deal with the virus because of the pandemic. Thus educational institutions are adjusting their approaches to teaching and learning (Anugrahsari et al., 2021).
The same thing occurred in Indonesia, where it was announced that learning must continue. As a result, numerous platforms have been developed to facilitate learning in the age of constraints. Due to this, both teachers and students had countless possibilities to learn and experiment with independent learning. They discovered a new method of learning: if they want to think from the perspective of humans, they can do it from anywhere, including the house, the room, the garden, the boarding room, or the dormitory. Hopefully, Covid-19 will end shortly, and regular education will resume. Through distant learning, the Indonesian government granted teachers and students the freedom of learning thanks to Merdeka Belajar’s concept.
The Jakarta Post. “Simultaneous Action to Realize Merdeka Belajar: Move Forward for Educational Success.” The Jakarta Post, https://newgelora.thejakartapost.com/adv/2021/05/11/simultaneous-action-to-realizemerdeka-belajar-move-forward-for-educational-success.htm
Anugrahsari, Santi & Parlina, Nining & Kusumastuti, Yuliana & Sihombing, Adison. (2021).Merdeka Belajar in an Online Learning during The Covid-19 Outbreak: Concept and Implementation. Asian Journal of University Education. 17. 35-48.10.24191/ajue. v17i4.16207
Maipita, Indra, et al. “The Development Structure of the Merdeka Belajar Curriculum in the Industrial Revolution Era.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Strategic Issues of Economics, Business and Education (ICoSIEBE 2020), 2021, https://doi.org/10.2991/aebmr.k.210220.026