By Lestiani Melania (Esti)
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Welcoming the Academic New Year in a New Normal

The first ever GESS Indonesia webinar titled "Welcoming the Academic New Year in a New Normal" took place on 23 July 2020. A very hot topic at this time in Indonesia at the moment as this July is at the start of a new school year amidst pandemic conditions. So distance learning and online are the only way to continue to facilitate teaching and learning activities in schools.

The speakers at this GESS webinar are those who have great experience in the Education sector, starting from Mrs. Itje Chodijah who has more than 40 years of experience in developing Educational progress and the skills of teachers and school principals in Indonesia. She is also a Master Trainer in British council. Mr. Praptono as Director of Teachers and Education Personnel of Secondary Education and Special Education Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia has 20 years of experience in the Indonesian Education sector starting from administrators of private schools to schools for children with disabilities. Another speaker from the school was Mr. Handojo who was previously the operational director of IPEKA schools, he has now been appointed as CEO of IPEKA schools who will later be responsible for the operational, student, religious and curriculum sections. IPEKA is one of the largest chain schools in Indonesia which is one of the technology-friendly schools in Indonesia. Mrs. Murshida, an architect engineer who previously built schools and then fell in love and jumped into the school management sector, she is now the headmaster of the AQL boarding school.


Online and distance learning is not a new concept in Indonesia, but indeed not all parties have adapted the online and distance learning system, both from the level of basic education - secondary and higher education. In online and distance education, it is not technology that we have to upgrade but standards of professionalism from educators need to be put forward. How to prepare teachers for online classes, provide training and provide understanding to students. Preparing the process Online and distance education begins with understanding the goals to be achieved for schools, then sorting out online products that are convenient and easily accessible to all parties (teachers, students and parents) and then determine the technology.


From the Ministry of Education and culture of the Republic of Indonesia perspective, there are three things that are strongly influenced by this pandemic situation including how the way it works (teachers have limitations in understanding the existing situation and technology as the most important thing is to preparing teachers. Directorate of Teachers and Education Personnel prepare an online portal "Teacher Sharing – Guru Berbagi" which aims to share good ways of learning and information for teachers - 2.4 Million teachers have registered using the portal to help the process of learning and teaching online), Mindset (how to change the mindset where previously teachers and school think that in preparing the curriculum and materials all parties need to meet in person, but with the current conditions it can be done online without having to meet face to face) and finally the efficiency of the budget, where by distant working and learning there is no need for onsite events, meetings and face-to-face training with a special venue and transportation process (operational costs).


There is always negative and positive side of a situation. For school the change that is very significant is the learning process, from the positive side the teachers are encouraged and challenged to be able to prepare the best material that can be accepted by their students. They do not want to be left behind in the online and distance learning process. Actually, schools have long recognized that the importance of online and distance learning and several schools have prepared facilities to encourage online learning since previous years, but many obstacles and lack of awareness of the importance of online learning have stalled and delayed this development. Building and producing students who understand technology become one of the qualities needed by schools in the next 5-10 years.


It can be concluded that with the existence of this pandemic, it caused so many significant changes both in the general sector and in Education. With these big changes, things that need to be prepared by the school is leadership where, a school leader must be brave in making decisions, do not need long term perspective, but short term decision due to the current dynamic conditions, where changes can occur quickly and other preparation is to unite vision and mission of all components of the school and how important technology is in helping us do activities. Collaboration becomes a keyword and a way out in welcoming the new academic year in a new normal situation.

If you enjoyed the our first webinar - make sure you keep an eye on our social media and your inbox for the annoucement of the 2nd edition.