Just to mix it up a little, with this post I want to move away from the focus on TBI’s low wages and demoted managers (such as Anita Pasaribu). Instead, I’d like to address a specific (and rather odd) allegation that has been by our detractors. This is the claim that the exposure of TBI as a bad employer and rogue company has dampened interest in Indonesia as a TEFL destination generally. For instance, a few months ago a former TBI teacher and hip-hop enthusiast, who is often known online as Jef Dam, alleged that the reason that Dave’s ESL Cafe Indonesia Forum was “dead as a graveyard” was due to excessively negative commentary by former TBI employees. I never believed it- it attributes too much sway to the opinions of a small number of people- but I never really considered whether there was a way to test the allegation. But on further consideration, it’s actually very quantifiable. The smart way to test the claim is to check whether there are less threads and comments being made on Dave’s Indonesia now versus the past. So let’s do it.
DAVE’S INDONESIA FROM 2014-2010
The most recent page on Dave’s Indonesia runs back as far as November 2013. That means that the it has taken 10 months to accumulate an entire page of threads on Indonesian TEFL. So that’s the base line. How about Page 2? It also stretches about 10 months from October 2013 to the start of the year. Page 3 predates the bulk of negative commentary about TBI on Dave’s, but it runs for 9 and a half months- almost exactly the same amount of time. Page 4 goes into 2011, which pre-dates the start of this blog and the TBI Bekasi revelations, but it lasts 9 months too. Therefore, from 2011 until the present day a whole page of threads has reliably accumulated on Dave’s Indonesia Forum every 9 or 10 months, with no noticeable change based on whether there were numerous critical remarks about TBI on the forum or not. But head back further and the picture was different, and that is based on DIKNAS, not us .
THE PRE-DIKNAS REGULATIONS ERA
When we get back to 2010, we enter the era when the new regulations from DIKNAS had just been announced. They were not yet in effect at most schools. And at precisely this point, the number of threads and posts on Dave’s becomes much, much larger. The second half of 2010 (the last time before the regulations were in effect), the whole page, Page 6, runs only 6 months from July 2010 till December. Page 7 is even shorter in span. It lasts just 4 months from March-July 2010. Page 8 lasts barely 4 months from January-April 2010. And 2009 is just the same or even busier: there are now pages of threads every 3-4 months for 2009.
THE OBVIOUS CONCLUSION
It can be no coincidence that the exact moment when the new regulations came into effect in Indonesia (at the end of 2010), the number of posts, replies and threads on Dave’s Indonesia went into a steep, even a drastic, decline. There was 3 to 4 times more activity on Dave’s in 2009 and 2010 than there was in 2011-2014, which was after the draconian new regime was in place. Yes, there are still people who are exploring Indonesia as a possibility, and hundreds and hundreds of people still teach TEFL there, but the number of people showing an interest is a mere fraction of what it was what before the English degree requirement. And when you really stop and consider the matter, doesn’t it make sense that what the Indonesian government does is vastly more important than we say on this blog?