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Projects >  Indonesia >  Basic Education Projects

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Basic Education Projects

Indonesia

Background to the Projects

In late 1996, the World Bank started the preparation of three basic education projects in six provinces in Indonesia (it should be noted here that most provinces in Indonesia are as large as medium-size European countries).  These were the West Java, the South Sulawesi and Maluku, and the North Sumatra, Riau and Benkulu Basic Education Projects.

At that time, Indonesia had achieved universal primary education in terms of numbers of primary school places but still faced many problems in the sector including: many schools were still housed in poor quality buildings that were rapidly deteriorating due to lack of maintenance; there was a shortage of essential materials such as books and other teaching materials; the quality of teachers and teaching performance was very low in many schools with the result that very little learning was happening and there was a high drop-out rate in the primary school system.

In junior secondary education, the main problem was the lack of access to schools in the more remote rural areas.  Many rural children did not have the opportunity to carry on their education after primary school and there was a low transition rate in both rural and urban areas, between primary and junior secondary schools.  There was also a shortage of books and other materials and the standard of teachers and teaching was also very low.

Overall Objectives of the Projects

The three projects had the same overall objectives which were to: improve the quality of education in primary schools; improve quality in, and increase access to junior secondary schools and to improve educational planning and management and develop institutional capacity at the provincial and district levels to better deliver the nine-year basic education programme.

More powers were to be given to schools and communities in the implementation of the project especially with regard to the renovation of primary schools, provision of furniture and maintenance of facilities.

School construction and renovation was to be undertaken by village builders or artisans in the case of primary schools and district-based contractors in the case of junior secondary schools.  Furniture for both primary and junior secondary schools was to be made at the village level.

Project Components

The West Java Project (and later, the other projects) was to be composed of the following components:

  • Performance-based grants to be awarded to Districts on the basis of five-year proposals and annual implementation plans designed to improve the quality of basic education and expand access to junior secondary education.  Activities were to include school construction, renovation and maintenance, provision of equipment and furniture, teacher recruitment and training, selection and acquisition of textbooks and teaching materials and the provision of scholarships.
     

  • Education Management Grants were to be awarded to the Province and the Districts on the basis of strategic proposals and annual implementation plans for establishing effective institutional arrangements and interagency co-ordination for improving technical capacity in areas affecting education quality and efficiency.  Activities would include technical assistance (national and international), fellowships, in-country training, grants, etc.

The quality of primary education was to be improved through the following measures:
 

  • The renovation of rural primary schools.  There was at that time an oversupply of primary schools in many districts, mainly in urban areas.  Therefore, no new schools were to be built but, after a comprehensive school mapping exercise had been carried out, the existing schools were to be consolidated and reduced in number.  This would reduce the number of schools that had to be renovated; free up teachers and allow them to be moved to schools with a shortage of teachers; and reduce school maintenance costs in future.  The consolidated primary schools were to be renovated, furnished and equipped and a sustainable, preventative maintenance programme was to be put into place that would reduce future renovation costs.
     

  • Primary school teacher development.  A teacher development programme was to be put in place to improve classroom teaching practice.  The project would support in-service teacher training and training for Heads of Schools and Supervisors.
     

Access to junior secondary education was to be increased through:
 

  • The construction of new junior secondary schools.  The schools were to be built in poor and remote rural areas by district-based contractors and were to be furnished and equipped.  A sustainable, preventative maintenance programme was to be put into place that would reduce future renovation costs.
     

  • Secondary school teacher development.  A teacher development programme was to be put in place to improve classroom teaching practice; to enhance subject knowledge of teachers and to provide training in the effective choice and usage of textbooks, teaching materials, library books and equipment.  Instructors were to be trained at Provincial and National levels who would then provide in-service training to teachers.
     

The majority of primary and junior secondary schools, especially in the rural areas did not have clean water supplies or working toilets.  The health of students and teachers at both primary and secondary schools was be improved through the provision of adequate clean water supplies and appropriate toilets.
 

The West Java Project was scheduled to last six years, the total project cost was around US$150 million and the project was to start in mid-1998.  The other four projects were of similar length and magnitude and were to start by the end of 1998.

It should be noted here that eventually further Basic Education Projects were funded by the World Bank along the same lines as the original projects in North, South and West Sumatra and in East Java.

 

 

My Involvement in the Basic Education Projects

In September 1996, I was asked to go to Indonesia to assist in the preparation of the Basic Education Project in South Sulawesi and Maluku Provinces.  This was the first World Bank project that I worked on as a consultant.

My report on the mission discussed the main issues affecting primary and junior secondary school construction, renovation and maintenance in those provinces.  These were seen as:

  • Land Acquisition

  • School Design

  • Construction Arrangements

  • Government and Non-Government Schools

  • Community Participation

  • Repair and Maintenance of Schools

That mission was followed by a pre-appraisal mission to West Java Province and a preparation mission to South Sulawesi Province in September/October 1997 (the preparation mission to Maluku Province had to be abandoned due to adverse weather conditions).  The mission to West Java was to evaluate government proposals for upgrading the delivery of basic education at the district and provincial levels and my task was to assess the construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, equipping and furnishing requirements of the project.  During the mission to South Sulawesi I was to focus on the terms of reference, organisational arrangements, costing and schedules for the physical facilities-related components of the project. See December 1997 report.

In March 1998 I went to West Java to prepare guidelines for anthropometric surveys for the design of school furniture; to review junior secondary school designs and to revise the terms of reference for the civil works consultants and in May 1999 I went back to review the school mapping data and the proposals for renovating existing and constructing new primary and junior secondary schools. See March 98 report.

In May 1998 I went to Sumatra for the appraisal mission for the Sumatra projects and in July 1999 I went back to Sumatra for the launching of the projects in Benkulu, Riau and North Sumatra Provinces and to South Sulawesi and Maluku Provinces for the launching of their projects and too review the school mapping results and the proposals for primary school consolidation.  See May 1998 report.

In May 1999 I went to West Java to assess the progress and quality of the school mapping and primary school consolidation programmes.  See May 1999 report.  In July 1999, I visited Bengkulu, Riau, North Sumatra and South Sulawesi Provinces to assess the school mapping and primary school consolidation programmes in those provinces.  See July 1999 report.  In August 1999 I went back to West Java to check on the progress and quality of the school mapping and primary school consolidation programmes.  See August 1999 report.  In November/December 1999 I went back for the preparation of the projects in East Java and South and West Sumatra Provinces.  See December 1999 report.  It should be noted here that the start of the East Java project was delayed until the rectification of faults at 4 junior secondary school being built in the province under a World Bank junior secondary school project were rectified,  These problems are covered elsewhere under Junior Secondary Education Projects.

Issues with and Proposals for the Provision of Primary and Junior Secondary Schools

My reports set out the main issues that I considered were adversely affecting the provision of well-built primary and junior secondary schools especially in the rural areas of the country.

The main issues with regard to the provision of primary schools were seen to be as follows:

  • Because of the way schools had been funded, there were in many areas too many schools with too few pupils.  This had implications in terms of the cost of renovations, maintenance, teachers’ salaries, books, equipment, etc.
     

  • Small contractors supervised by PUK (District Ministry of Works) staff generally carried out primary school renovation and construction and their technical competence was low and supervision by PUK was poor with the result that the majority of school buildings were badly built and/or renovated.
     

  • Very little money was being spent on maintenance with the result that buildings deteriorated rapidly and had to be renovated again, often within a period of less than 10 years which was a major waste of resources. 
     

  • Communities saw primary schools as government schools, had no real involvement in the schools apart from paying fees and therefore had no interest in helping with their maintenance or upkeep.
     

Proposals were developed for remedying this situation with regard to the renovation and maintenance of project primary schools as follows:
 

  • Comprehensive school mapping exercises were to be carried out and the number of primary schools then reduced to the minimum required to serve the primary school population.  It was estimated that a reduction in the number of primary schools of only 5% (1,200 schools) would save between Rp18 billion and Rp36 billion which could be used for renovation, repairs, teachers’ salaries, books, equipment, etc for the remaining schools.
     

  • The project schools were to be renovated to a standard that would ensure, with regular maintenance, a useful life for the buildings of at least 25 years. 
     

  • Funds for renovation were to be sent directly to a bank account controlled by the school and/or local community who would then organise the renovation using local craftsmen or small builders.  The involvement of the communities in this way would, it was hoped, ensure their future involvement in the running and maintenance of the schools.
     

  • If the schools were to be renovated to a good standard then the communities would require some form of technical assistance and it was proposed that this would be provided in the form of Construction Supervisors who would operate at the Sub-District level and cover a number of school sites, depending on distance and the amount of work on each site.  They were to work closely with the communities and have control over the funds for materials and labour in order that these were not misused.
     

  • When the project schools had been renovated to an acceptable standard, adequate funds were to be made available to them by government for preventative maintenance programmes to stop the cycle of deterioration.  The funding was to go directly to the schools and the Head Teachers were to be responsible for maintenance. 
     

The main issues with regard to the provision of junior secondary schools were considered to be:
 

  • New schools were being poorly constructed and there seemed to be a variety of reasons for this: contracts were being let to contractors at the national level and they were sub-contracting the construction contracts, sometimes more than once, with the result that the funds for actual construction were much reduced.   Consultants were being employed to design and supervise the construction of the schools but the supervision seemed to be inadequate.  If there was a supervisor on site, he seemed to be more of a site clerk rather than a supervisor.   Dinas PU Cipta Karya had a role in supervision but their supervision usually consisted of site visits when stage payments were due.
     

  • The design of junior secondary schools was generally over-complicated and expensive; there was very little standardisation, each school being treated as a new design with full fees paid and there seemed to be very little in the way of site surveys or site investigation.

  • Very little funding was available for preventative maintenance with the result that buildings deteriorated rapidly, again a major waste of resources.
     

The proposals for remedying the situation with regard to new junior secondary schools to be built by the project were as follows:
 

  • Technical assistance was to be provided at Province level in the form of a Project Architect and supporting staff.  They were to review existing designs, compile a brief for new, standardised designs and appoint local consultants to produce designs and working drawings.  Consultants were also to be appointed at District level to carry out site and soil surveys, foundation designs and site layouts for all the selected sites. 
     

  • Tenders were to be restricted to local contractors registered with each District in order to ensure that funds were not wasted through sub-contracting.
     

  • Technical assistance was to be provided at District level in the form of Construction Co-ordinators who were to work with Dinas PU Cipta Karya staff in supervising the consultants and ensuring that proper supervision was carried out.  The Construction Co-ordinators were also to have some control over payments to contractors to ensure that funds did not go astray.
     

  • When the schools were built funding was to be made available by government for preventative maintenance programmes to stop the cycle of deterioration.  The funding was to go directly to the schools and Head Teachers were to be responsible for maintenance.
     

Other major issues that related to both primary and junior secondary schools were the lack of clean water and working toilets especially, but not only at rural schools.  The proposals made for remedying this situation were:
 

  • The Project Architect in each Province would prepare designs for wells and appropriate toilets such as pour-flush privies or VIP latrines for sites where there was no running water.  Water tanks and/or flush toilets were not to be provided at schools where there was no dependable source of water.
     

  • The Construction Co-ordinators were to oversee the construction of wells and toilets at all project schools using contractors for junior secondary schools and village craftsmen and labour for the primary schools.  No school was to be built or renovated without the provision of an adequate clean water supply and working toilets of whatever type for pupils and staff.
     

Another problem that related to both primary and junior secondary schools was the general lack of adequate numbers of appropriately sized furniture.  The proposals made to remedy this were:
 

  • To carry out simple anthropometric surveys of pupils of all ages at both primary and junior secondary schools and, using this information, develop standard designs for chairs and desks to be made of timber in a range of sizes to suit all ages. 
     

  • The furniture was to be made (and repaired) at the village level.  The Construction Supervisors were to train carpenters, if necessary and supervise manufacture of furniture for primary schools and small contracts were to be let to village carpenters or others for the manufacture of furniture for junior secondary schools. 
     

Implementation of the Renovation and Construction Programme

During my first mission to West Java, I prepared a draft operation manual for the implementation of the renovation and construction programme.  This set out the objectives of the project in terms of construction and these became the objectives for all of the basic education projects and it is worth quoting from the manual:

‘The principal project objective is to improve the quality of basic education and expand access to junior secondary education at the district level.  This will be achieved in the construction sector by the following means:

 

A. School mapping, consolidation and renovation of existing primary schools
 

Through the achievement of better levels of efficiency by eradicating the over-provision of primary schools which has resulted in the under-use and dilapidation of school buildings.  A reduction in the number of schools will result in more efficient use of school buildings and staff.  Class sizes, which at present range from 10 to 40, will be increased to closer to the norm of 40 pupils per class.  An estimated 2,400 teachers will be freed for re-assignment to schools at present lacking a full complement of teachers.  There will be a quantitative reduction in renovation and maintenance costs and there is the possibility of using vacated primary schools as junior secondary schools.

By the improvement of the physical condition of the remaining primary schools (once consolidation has taken place) which will provide more effective use of buildings, better conditions for teaching and learning and thus facilitate the learning process.  Approximately 72,000 classrooms in 30,000 primary schools will be renovated of which 60% are in rural areas and of which 75% are considered to be poor.  Funds for renovation will be given directly to the schools and local craftsmen or small builders will carry out renovation.  This will increase school and community involvement, ensure a greater sense of ownership and, together with training of local craftsmen and builders should improve the standard of renovation and bring about a reduction in future renovation and maintenance costs. 

By the provision of adequate clean water supplies and toilet facilities, the health of both students and teachers will be improved and a healthier environment ensured around the schools.

Through the employment of construction advisers based at sub-district level who will assist in school renovation, the construction of wells and toilets, the training of local craftsmen and small contractors and to improve the capacity of the sub-district Public Works Department to monitor maintenance and renovation in the future.

B.Construction of new junior secondary schools

By increasing the number of places at junior secondary school level through the construction of new schools an additional 28,560 student places will be provided giving a 70% improvement in coverage.  Approximately 68% of these places will be in rural areas of which 75% are considered to be poor.  Training will be given to small contractors and supervisors from PU and consultants and the resulting improvement in construction and supervision should result in a reduction in renovation and maintenance costs.

By the provision of adequate clean water supplies and toilet facilities, the health of both students and teachers should be improved and a healthier environment ensured around the schools.

The construction advisers will carry out the on-the-job training of small contractors and supervisors and assist in the supervision of construction.

C.Provision of school furniture to primary and junior secondary schools

By the provision of adequate numbers of desks and chairs in a range of sizes to fit the majority of pupils in primary and junior secondary schools, the comfort of the students will be improved giving better school room attention and concentration and therefore better learning. Funds for manufacturing and purchasing furniture will be given directly to the schools and local carpenters will make the furniture wherever possible.  This again will increase school and community involvement and, together with training of local carpenters should improve the quality of furniture and bring about a reduction in maintenance and replacement costs.

The construction advisers will carry out training of local carpenters and supervise manufacture of furniture.

D.Sustainable, preventative maintenance of primary and junior secondary schools

By installing a preventative maintenance programme in all schools and thus ensuring the carrying out of regular maintenance and minor repairs to school buildings maintenance and renovation costs should be reduced.  Funds for maintenance will be given directly to the schools and local craftsmen or small builders will carry out the work.   As with renovation, this will increase school and community involvement, ensure a greater sense of ownership and, together with training of local craftsmen and small builders should improve the standard of maintenance and bring about a reduction in future maintenance costs.

The construction advisers will carry out training of school staff, local craftsmen and builders and help set up a system of preventative maintenance.’

The draft operation manual was included in my December 1997 report which focused on the main issues affecting primary and junior secondary school construction, renovation and maintenance. 

Further Missions and Conclusions

I went back to Indonesia a number of times to review the progress of the various basic education projects and report on any issues or problems that I found.

I visited North Sumatra and Riau Provinces in May 2002, Riau and Benkulu Provinces in March 2003, South Sulawesi and Maluku Provinces in May 2003 and November 2003 and reported on the issues that were affecting the implementation of the construction components of the projects (see the attached reports (Sumatra BEP Report May 2002, Sumatra BEP Report March 2003, Sulawesi Maluku Report May 2003, and Sulawesi Maluku Report Nov 2003) for details of how the projects were being implemented and of issues that were raised during visits to construction sites).

One important issue was that although many under-utilised primary schools had been identified in all of the provinces and consolidation programmes had been prepared, there had been very little actual consolidation and/or closure of schools in any of the districts visited.  In all of the districts the education authorities said that it was very difficult to close schools mainly because of the attitude of the school committees and the problem of what to do with surplus teachers and head teachers.  It was probably also a political issue and corruption no doubt also played a part.

 

Another issue was that not there had not been enough time at the start of the projects for the necessary preparation, planning and community development work and the development of a sense of community ownership and responsibility for the renovated facilities.  The result was that although some communities made some contribution mainly in the form of labour for site clearance, many communities made no contribution at all.  There also seemed to be no clear understanding on the part of communities and school committees as to what their responsibilities would be after the completion of the renovations.

 

The majority of the construction problems seen at the sites that were visited seem to have been caused largely by the civil works consultants.  The problems ranged from inadequate surveys of the existing schools, poor quality documentation of the works, an inability to treat this school-based project as being different to a traditional contractor-based project and the use of young and inexperienced site supervisors who gave poor advice to school committees and accepted poor quality materials and poor workmanship.

The budgets for the renovation work at most schools do not seem to have been very accurate, largely because of lack of time for preparation.  This lack of accuracy had led to changes in the scope of work during renovation and the inability to complete the work because funds had run out.  Many of the contracts also contained standard amounts for water, electrical and sanitary installations although these would have been different at each location.

A lot of the documentation was not really relevant to the renovation of schools using school committees.  Bills of quantities had been prepared whereas what the committees really needed were schedules of materials which they could use for the ordering of materials together with estimates of the amount of labour required.  These would also have simplified the preparation of realistic budgets for each location. 

There were other problems with the documentation such as expensive and inappropriate materials such as white glazed tiles for veranda floors had been specified, there was a lack of lintels over doors and windows and ceilings had been provided to the underside of roofs externally which were unnecessary and would provide ongoing maintenance problems. In provinces affected by earthquakes no special measures had been taken to protect the buildings. 

As noted above, many of the Construction Supervisors seem to be too young and too inexperienced for the work that they had to do.  As well as supervising the construction work they had to lead the school committees in their decision making and needed experience and authority to do this which they did not have.  This was a cultural problem as well as a technical one in that young supervisors could not contradict older committee members.  It was also an issue that I have come across elsewhere; consulting firms want to reduce their operational costs and one way of doing this is to use young and inexperienced and therefore cheap (!) site supervisors and provide them with inadequate supervision from more senior staff.   Many remote sites had also not had the amount of supervision and management that they required from the Construction Supervisors.

Examples of poor construction that the Construction Supervisors had allowed were poor quality brickwork, concrete being mixed by hand in small batches, concrete columns being cast between brick panels rather than in formwork, inadequate cover to reinforcement, roof trusses not being adequately secured to ring beams which risked roofs being blown off and the use of very poor quality roof sheets.

Other problems that were noted were that only one size of desks and chairs was being supplied to schools; not enough emphasis was being given to the supply of drinking water to schools or to the provision of functioning toilets and many electrical installations were sub-standard and inadequate and as primary schools are usually only used in the mornings then the provision of a complete electricity installation could really not be justified.

However, despite all of these problems and with the exceptions noted above, it has to be said that the standard of construction and of finishes was generally quite good and at some schools, usually where the school committee had been very involved in the process and there was also a builder on the committee, they were very good.  All school staff and community representatives interviewed stated that they were pleased with the quality of the work and most felt that this was a better way of procuring the rehabilitation or construction of school buildings as they had more control over expenditure and quality than when contractors were used and there was lees opportunity for corruption.

It has to be remembered that these were the first school renovation and building projects in Indonesia that used school committees to implement the projects and neither the education authorities nor the local government authorities had any experience of this type of project or really understood what was expected from them or from the school committees.  The firms of construction consultants had also not had any experience of school building projects that used school committees to manage the construction process rather than contractors and all parties therefore had to learn the hard way while the projects were being implemented. 

I think however that the projects can generally be judged as being successful as thousands of schools were eventually renovated or constructed, most to an acceptable standard and at a reasonable cost and rural communities definitely felt more ownership of their schools.  The principle of school committees managing the renovation and construction of schools was accepted by the Ministry of Education and continues to be successfully used to this day.

I learned a lot from my involvement in the projects and, using my experience in these and in the SIGP projects, wrote Guidelines for Community Participation in Construction Projects and Guidelines for School and Community-led School Renovation and Construction (both can be accessed in Community Participation in Construction Projects in the Resources section of this web-site) for the World Bank.  I also prepared Guidelines for School Mapping and Data Collection (see Asset Management and Facilities Planning in the Resources section) based upon my experience in the basic education projects.  Information of the design and manufacture of classroom furniture can be found in Classroom Furniture in the Resources section.

The photo gallery below shows some of the schools constructed by the projects.

Project Gallery

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