Jakarta (ANTARA) - Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry's (Kemendikbudristek's) Secretary General Suharti stated that four aspects of "Merdeka Belajar" (Freedom to Learn), starting from basic learning to technology utilization, have been able to inspire ASEAN countries.

"Since 2019, Indonesia has entered a new paradigm in which technology plays a role as a driving force for transformation in the education system," she noted in a statement in Jakarta, Thursday.

The four aspects of Freedom to Learn are a commitment to basic learning, support for teaching skills, focus on specific groups, and the utilization of technology to enhance and accelerate progress.

Suharti affirmed that those four aspects had assisted the government in overcoming educational challenges, including those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Second Regional Meeting on Roadmap on Declaration on Digital Transformation of Education Systems in ASEAN, in Surabaya, Suharti stated that the Freedom to Learn movement has the main focus of overcoming the learning crisis.

The Freedom to Learn Program also encourages an education system that creates lifelong learners, who are competent and reflect the profile of Pancasila students.

Freedom to Learn Movement presents a fun learning experience and empowers students to explore.

Meanwhile, teachers are trained to be more efficient in working with school principals to create the best curriculum according to school characteristics and the students' needs.

"Among the four aspects of Freedom to Learn, we started by establishing a national assessment as a form of implementation of the first priority," she remarked.

Through National Assessment, Kemendikbudristek encourages learning that focuses on mastery of knowledge and not on exams.

Assessment instruments in the National Assessment include cognitive abilities, input, and processes involved in learning, such as learning quality, principal leadership, teacher perceptions, risk of violence, bullying, and intolerance.

"Along with the assessment reform, we are changing the curriculum to focus more on depth rather than breadth of knowledge, so that fewer topics are covered but (there is) more meaningful engagement in class," she remarked.

The second priority is to support teaching skills by changing pre-service teacher education from theory-oriented to practical orientation.

In addition, teachers receive practical training and teaching experience and form a learning community to ensure peer support that encourages the birth of creative learning ideas.

Furthermore, the third priority is intervention to support the needs of schools, teachers, and students, namely the provision of additional tutoring by sending students to teach through the Freedom to Learn Campus Merdeka policy.

Regarding the policy of providing grants, Kemendikbudristek offers more funds for schools in remote areas, so they can meet their logistical needs and procure learning tools.

The fourth priority in the Freedom to Learn movement is the use of technology in improving and accelerating the progress of learning.

As a first step, Kemendikbudristek ensures useful and sustainable digital transformation in the education sector by capturing, integrating, and utilizing data that has been collected.

Thereafter, regional stakeholders, such as schools and technical implementation units (UPT), collect and validate the data before further use as a basis for creating and developing digital platforms.

Several platforms launched by Kemendikbudristek to support the improvement of the quality of learning include Merdeka Teaching, Education Report Cards, Belajar.id, and the Merdeka Campus platform.

"Digital transformation through the Freedom to Learn movement can strengthen the education ecosystem in Indonesia and inspire ASEAN member countries," Suharti remarked.

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Translator: Astrid Faidlatul Habibah, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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