DIKNAS Tightens the Screws

The following information comes from a job ad for Wall Street Indonesia (WSI)- a company which, unlike TBI, has managed to expand and grow under the new regime. Nonetheless, these rules are tough. Here are the latest regulations from DIKNAS, who manage a very low-quality public education system themselves:

* Bachelors degree or higher specifically majoring in English, Linguistics, Education with an English-subject focus, Comparative Literature, or an MA TESOL (Non-negotiable government requirement)

* TEFL certified (CELTA/Trinity preferred) 

* Native language English speaker with passport from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand (Non-negotiable government requirement) 
* Be able to obtain a health certificate stating you are healthy in body/mind and free of HIV/AIDS (Non-negotiable government requirement) 
* Age between 25-55 years old (Non-negotiable government requirement) 

* 5 years removed from BA degree, with some ESL teaching experience (Non-negotiable government requirement)

Back in 2011-2012, the regulations were more vague. Cam got through DIKNAS with a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Communications. The word “English” was preferred but exceptions were sometimes made. But they seem to have having none of that now. Not even Education is enough (bizarrely enough)- it has to have an “English focus”. Now the idea that a person with 4 years training in Education would not be up to the task of teaching kids at EF is laughable, but this is what DIKNAS has dictated.

Further comments? The idea that anyone with a Masters in TESOL would want to work for EF or TBI strikes me as insane. Someone with these qualifications could be looking to make $4000- $5000 a month tax-free in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf countries. But perhaps this is the point. Manpower have actively been boasting of their success in getting rid of expats (including Chinese and Koreans) in the media in recent months. Indonesian authorities would clearly regard as an achievement if they forced more expat teachers out. It’s like it or lump it really.

There are a couple of extra requirements at the end which will also make life hell for schools. One is the requirement that teachers need 5 years experience. Quite the departure from 2006 when 5 hours’ teaching experience on a TEFL course would be enough to land a job at EF! Now that means that university graduates can’t just “drop out” and go troppo in Indonesia for a few years. They will need to put in 5 years work before they start at TBI! Can you imagine how many people would want to go to TBI after already having 5 years experience and a degree? Wouldn’t an international school or high-paying National Plus be more in order? Also no one will be able to work in Indonesia until later in life. If you finish your degree at 25, you won’t be able to be a teacher in Indonesia until you are 30. Surely many teachers will decide it isn’t worth all the bother.

The other requirement is that no one over 55 years of age can apply. The previous level used to be 60 years. So not only will expat teachers in Indonesia be starting work at a later age, they will have to finish their expat career at an earlier age. This of itself points to a not-so-hidden agenda at work here.

                                                   DIKNAS’s Not-So-Hidden Agenda

Many people have described the DIKNAS regulations as arbitrary, random, useless, senseless, crazy and so on. We disagree. We believe that they make perfect sense and are quite consistent as long as you accept that they all stem from a single motive. A not-so-hidden agenda. This agenda is quite simply that they want to reduce the number of expat teachers in Indonesia. Some Indonesian teachers, green with envy at expat teaching salaries, have bombarded the Jakarta Post for years with stories of how all expat teachers only know how to play Hangman and Simon Says etc. etc. There has been an orchestrated campaign to reduce the number of expat teachers, led by a vocal group of Indonesian teachers for years. DIKNAS too turns its nose up at expats. When TBI has to deal with them, they never send expats, knowing that DIKNAS (to quote Luke Preece) “hate us and want nothing to do with us.”

If you look at the regulations from this angle, things start to make sense. DIKNAS is narrowing the window deliberately to reduce the number of teachers. Get rid of the 55+ set. Get rid of the “gap year” set by requiring 5 years experience. Keep the academic criteria very narrow and specific, which will get rid of most applicants. Their agenda is to keep the number of expats to a minimum and if schools started doing better with recruitment, they would just tighten the regulations again. This is the reality of the situation, and there is no sign that the situation is going to improve any time soon.

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