Discussing with the colleagues about the Local Content Curriculum (LCC) has brought my thinking to 1994. Released by the MOEC, this program has puzzled teachers. Some maybe refute the curriculum, but I personally support the existence of the curriculum. I will show the reasonable arguments seen from 2 perspectives why I agree that the policy makers continue the notion principles of LCC in current curriculum.
The first argument is seen from political perspective. Being under political condition of New Order for 32 years and Javanese tradition of ‘top-down approach’ (Bjork, 2005, p.9) makes teachers face difficulty to adopt LCC. Policy makers seem do not see this obstacle as a big problem but rather tend to encourage teachers to out of the box named comfort zone in which in the past they only explained the information in textbooks given by MOEC (UNDP in Bjork, 2005, p.31). Here, I can see MOEC want to delegate their authority to the localities. Like all sector of government, in educational system, the primary responsibility would shift from direction to coordination (Bjork, 2006, p.129). Some maybe do not realize about this, but others agree to the political power sharing. MOEC has reduced their power in order to balance their power with the localities. MOEC allows provincial office to take a role and responsibility for coordinating LCC curriculum, monitoring its implementation, devising assessment tools, training teachers (Bjork, 2005, p.30) and the main actors i.e. teachers need to explore themselves as innovative as they can. Teachers should create their curriculum which comprise of syllabus, lesson plan, and learning materials as the foundation of the educational system. They need to act as educational leaders and decision makers in the selection of LCC activities and programs.
The second argument is seen from the social perspective. I do agree with the Bjork’s statement that the existence of LCC is to reduce the percentage of student existing the system by increasing the number of vocational schools (2005, p.31). Why I do say so? Indeed, many children who come from low income family cannot afford the school fees in the general high school (SMU) or see that SMU does not able to give bright future, then parents are able to seen their kids to vocational schools (SMK). To some parents, it is just like win-win solution where their kids get something to learn and train their ability while parents see that those kids’ capability can be used in the labor market after they finish they study. Take a look at my neighborhood, as an example. I live in an industrial city where lots of big factories such as Coca-Cola, Nissin, Ara Shoes, so on. Indeed, many young people are now deciding to study in SMK rather than end up on SMU. Some study engineering, computer, hospitality, or tailoring. What I have found out that the existence of SMK is reducing numbers of jobless people and increasing numbers of people work.
Beside the aforementioned argument, socially we can see that LCC creates tighter links between curricula and local conditions (Bjork, 2005, p.33). It demands to insert the local needs into the curriculum. If where go to the north in Jepara city, most people there need to be master in sculpturing and shaping stone, wood or any other hard materials. Some schools provide lesson to deepen their knowledge about woods, stone, patterns, how to curving. Or Solo, where almost young kids are learning to make batik. They will learn about the type of sheet, utensil they need, or patterns of it. I assume both Jepara and Solo people maybe have already known from parents or just the neighborhood, but schools teach more. Teachers would give more widen your knowledge of it. Students will be taught not only to produce things but how to promote our works and to be marketable merchandise, thing that they maybe don’t learn from home.
The last argument still seen from social perspective is LCC able to increase community involvement in the schools (Bjork, 2005, p34). Before LCC’s coming, some parents are out of educational system. Parents will only be gathered about how much money each child needs to pay fees. They do not come to discuss but they come only to listen the faculty. For some parents, it would not be big deal, but others who come from loweer income family will feel burden. LCC allows and increase community involvement in the schools. Some schools have school committee in which parents create a union to make control towards the fees. The community involvement is just not there. Some parents would be invited in the class activity as experts of local needs. Take the aforesaid example of Jepara and Solo. If our parents have ability in sculpturing or creating batik, there are big possibilities for school to invite them to teach and instruct sudents. Parents would be more care to their kids’ achievement since there is no boundary between schools and parents. Thus, I can see that the school as the heart of the community (Boyle-Baise, 2008, p.308).
To sum up, I do agree that LCC yields more benefits to every level such as authorities, provincial offices, teachers and students. The curriculum demands all to concern and show their responsibility. Thus, changing to the good curriculum from old-fashion curriculum, why not?
Bjork, C. (2005). Indonesian Education: Teachers, Schools, and Central Bureaucracy. NY: Routledge.
Bjork, C. (2006). Transferring authority to local communities in Indonesia: Ambitius plans, mixed results. In C Bjork (Ed.) Educational decentralization: Asian experiences and conceptual contribution (pp. 129-148), NY: Springer.
Boyle-Baise, M. & Mclntyre, DJ. (2008).What kind of experience? Preparing teachers in PDS or community settings. In M. Cochran-Smith, S. Feiman-Nemser & JD Mclentrye (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing context (pp.307-329). New York: Routledge.