Bilingual Program in Education in Indonesian Context Prestige or Achievement? (Gengsi atau Prestasi?)
By Ponikem, S.Pd.
A teacher of English at SMP 1 Wonosari
In Indonesia, nowadays, schools are classified into three categories based on their achievement, i.e. international standard, national standard, and “rintisan”. Schools which are chosen as the national standard will gain a project from the government in the form of educational fund to conduct some activities to upgrade the school achievement. Later, if these schools are considered successful in terms of the predetermined requirements, these schools will be nominated as international standard schools which will gain also greater amount of educational fund from the government. In Special Territory of Jogjakarta there are some schools which have been nominated as international standard schools. Among others are SMP 5 Yogyakarta, SMP 4 Pakem, SMP 1 Bantul, SMP 1 Galur and SMP 1 Karangmojo. These schools are regarded as the most prestigious schools in terms of their status – to be international schools.
Before going further, it is better to understand first what bilingual program in education is, how it works, and what we can benefit from this program.
Bilingual Program – What it is (Program Bilingual – Apa Itu?)
Originally, bilingual is a variant of content-based language teaching in which students are using English to learn subject matter content. According to Graddol (2006) bilingual program is also called CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). Whatever it means, bilingual in Indonesian context is using L1 (Bahasa Indonesia)and L2 (foreign language “English”) to learn subject matter content, in this case Mathematics and Sciences. This program is mainly dependent on the government financial support. Consequently, every single sub program must be referred to the prescribed design.
How it works (Kerjanya bagaimana?)
Like ordinary school program, bilingual program requires readiness and preparedness from all related elements, such as teachers, principle, students, staffs, facilities, and society. Teachers as the most determinant element who have a direct contact with the students in the teaching and learning process must have English mastery to conduct their instructional process. Teachers, especially the mathematics and science teachers must change their mind set from teaching only using Bahasa Indonesia into teaching using both bahasa Indonesia and English. Therefore, English is their new and immediate challenge. Is it an easy job? Principle as the other important element must also be competent in English, to be ideal, or at least, as a principle, he/she must have a great concern on the program. He/she cannot take the program for granted. As a motor and motivator, principle must also totally involve in changing the school culture from monolingual Bahasa Indonesia, to bilingual, Bahasa Indonesia and English. Students as the target of the program must be placed on the highest priority of service. It is the students’ process and product achievement that becomes the success indicator of the program. Are both the process and product achievement put in balance? Or merely conducting program to spend the abundant fund granted by the government?
Is there any benefit? (Adakah manfaatnya?)
Students as the doers of the program must be able to use English to learn the subject matter content. They have to change their learning habit. Learning material and learning process are conducted bilingually with the subject matter teachers are using English. Can we imagine what will happen in the class? Anyway, the show must go on. International school or bilingual program in Indonesian context is mainly government- funded. So … everything must be done as it is prescribed by the government. Although it leaves a silly question: Will the students reach their best achievement? Hopefully they will do. At least students and teachers are able to improve their English. By doing so, they will find everything easier especially in conducting activities related with the use of English.
Bilingual Program in SMP 1 Wonosari – It’s different! (Program Bilingual di SMP 1 Wonosari – Beda!)
In the academic year 2008/2009, SMP 1 Wonosari proudly launches its prestigious program, that is “BILINGUAL PROGRAM”. Why is it prestigious? So far, SMP 1 Wonosari has not been nominated as “International School” despite its best achievement both in local, provincial and national level. This year BILINGUAL PROGRAM will be conducted independently with financial support from the students’ parents. This program will be addressed to students of grade 8 and 7, each of which is one class. There are about thirteen teachers, both English and subject matter teachers involved in this program. Now they are joining English course to improve their English. They are very enthusiastic in doing so. Their English is better and better. They will also conduct workshop to prepare any document required by the program.
Shortly, we are quite optimistic in carrying out this program. With a good collaboration, everything will be in hand. This is SMP 1 Wonosari.
The bright school for the bright kids, fully dedicated for the bright future of the nation. Bravo SMP 1 Wonosari.
Be the best of the best.
Bright school for the bright kids