Suara Pembaruan, page 17
Special Staff of Education National Commission, Andreas Tambah, said that the case of several hundred SD students receiving a failing grade was due to the curriculum for kindergarten (TK) and elementary school (SD) not yet being synchronized. He said that the curriculum on reading, writing and arithmetic (calsitung) has not been introduced to students but when they enter SD, they must learn from text books on calsitung. The target of curriculum is also high and results in troubles for teachers of the first grade of SD. The same thing goes for teachers of the second grade. The burden of curriculum is harder when students must be able to master calsitung. The shortcut is therefore selection through a failing grade system.
Sekjen of Federation of Indonesian Teachers Association (FSGI), Retno Listyarti agreed on this issue. In addition to the burden of the curriculum, the high rate of SD students who have a failing grade indicated the low competence of SD teachers for early grades, or grades 1-3.
Retno added that the heavy burden of curriculum can be seen in the text books for grade 1 of SD that obliges the students to directly read a story of 2-3 paragraphs. It is not surprising that SD teachers will be overwhelmed to meet the demands of the curriculum if they must teach their students the basics of reading. The burden of the curriculum is hard not only for students but also for teachers. It also happens that students are able to read but they do not understand the content. This will result in students not being able to answer questions about the reading. This is not only the teachers’ fault but also the government and society.
Retno also suspected that many students failed their grade because people feel so proud if their children are able to read before they are seven years old. Society even considers TKs that do not teach calsitung as not being qualified. Moreover, many parents hire private teachers to teach their children to read, although these children may not always understand it and this will result in a disparity in reading skills among students in early grades.