Karangasem needs 1,000 new teachers as shortage hits regency’s schools

Ni Komang Erviani, ,  The Jakarta Post, ,  Karangasem   |  Fri, 01/09/2009 10:55 AM  |  Bali

One thousand new teachers are needed to accommodate the growing number of students in Karangasem regency and to replace the teachers who will soon retire, the regent has warned.

Karangasem Regent I Wayan Geredeg said the central government’s decision to assign 633 new teachers to the regency this year constituted an insufficient effort, as the need was for 1,700 teachers.

“I need about a thousand more,” he said.

Karangasem has been suffering a teacher shortage for the past decade, he said, adding that what had once been an inconvenience now was crisis given the growing number of students.

“There is actually one elementary school where 400 students are taught by three teachers. That’s just illogical,” Geredeg said Thursday.

In Indonesia, a regent must appeal to the central government to be assigned more public school teachers.

Karangasem, a poor regency which is famous for suffering severe droughts and is rarely frequented by tourists, is an unpopular destination among teachers.

“On average, public school teachers serve for between two and three years, and then they request to be moved. The problem is that the central government keeps granting their wishes,” he said.

He said the dearth was isolated to 45 elementary schools in the districts of Kubu, Abang and the Seraya village. There are eight districts in Karangasem, all short of teachers, he said.

He said the regency would need another 200 teachers by 2010 just to maintain present numbers, citing the number of teachers who planned to retire by then.

There are 5,000 teachers working at 360 elementary schools in Karangasem.

Geredeg said he hoped the central government would send at least half of the number of teachers requested.

He said he planned to establish a contractual program with stationed teachers that would require them to stay for 22 years.

The plan received the support of the head of the Bali Education Agency, Tjok Istri Agung Kusumawardhani.

She said the lack of teachers was not a problem specific to Karangasem, adding that while she had no data at hand to back up her argument, it was the central government that was to blame for the shortage of teachers in many rural areas.

“It’s because teachers are stationed directly by the central government,” he said.

“And the teachers only stay for two or three years, and then move on again.”

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