Monday, 20 December 2010

Bilingual Education

Bilingual education is practiced in many countries throughout the world. For instance, in Japan, the need for bilingualism (mostly Japanese and English) has been pointed out and there are some scholars who advocate teaching children subjects such as mathematics using English rather than Japanese (www.wikipedia.com). It refers to the system of providing education to a child in two languages, where one of the languages is invariably the child's mother tongue. The aim of bilingual education is to ensure that a child, who is proficient in his/her mother tongue, acquires the same level of comfort and expertise in the other language (www.buzzle.com). However, this program still has some weaknesses that should be mending by the government. These are several aspects that make bilingual education still ineffective among the society in Indonesia, three of which are important: the quality of teachers, the funds of this program, and the completeness of facilities.
The first aspect is the quality of teachers who teach in bilingual schools. As we know that bilingual education requires a number of trained teachers who are proficient in both English and their native language. It is assuming that English is one of the media of instructions. There is a wide gap between the demand and the supply for teachers who are both confident and capable of handing the intense pressure associated with managing a class of students requiring special attention. For instance, in SBI, they just provide each lesson just 1 teacher who capable in bilingual lesson. Properly, SBI should provide at least 5 teachers in each lesson to handle students’ need in bilingual lesson. This means that the government should make a program to improve the quality of the teachers in order to make bilingual education more comprehensible among the students.
Not only that, bilingual education has also a problem in the funds of this program. As we know that the social economic gap in Indonesia between the poor and the rich people is still a crux problem. People who want to send their children to the SBI, known as schools that use international curriculum, should pay more than just take their children to the regular schools, which use national curriculum. It is due to the high expense to buy bilingual books and the payment for the teachers. For instance, in elementary school which the regular school, we pay the tuition free. The government gives subsidy to that particular school which is named BOS (Bantuan Operasional Sekolah). However, other school which is titled as SBI do not get subsidy from the government. The students should pay their tuition and extra for their facilities around million rupiah. Indeed, bilingual schools are just a dream for the poor people. This means that the government should give scholarship for those who have a big desire to go into SBI and special intelligent but he/she comes from not wealthy family in order to cause education to be spread evenly in Indonesia.
Then, the completeness of facilities for bilingual education is the last aspect that should be mending by the government, for instance, lack of classrooms. There is a dearth of classrooms that can accommodate students who require instructions in both English and their native language. All of the students are expected to sit together in one class regardless of their age and the variations in the required level of education. This poses a great problem for teachers who, in addition to being well versed in two languages, have to exhibit a certain level of comfort in handling different levels of education simultaneously. In the end, it is expected that facilities in the school will be more complete to enhance the quality of bilingual education itself. By providing more facilities, the bilingual education will run as well as what is expected by the society.
From the explanation above, we can conclude that bilingual education in Indonesia needs support from the government. Bilingual education actually faces several problems more than those mentioned above. Nevertheless, three aspects of which are stated, are important to find the solve solution earlier. The quality of teachers will affect the system of the bilingual school. If the teachers lack qualification in bilingual education, the students will not get the advantages from bilingual program. Even, the expense of bilingual education can give burdens to the parent that want their children go into the bilingual school. Also, the completeness of facilities in the bilingual school is also affects the system of bilingual school itself. The state and the school board should help overcome of these problems, than perhaps the bilingual education program will have a better reputation, and chance to succeed in the next period.

Sources:  
Iyer, Aparna. 2009. Disadvantages of Bilingual Education. www.buzzle.com.
__________. 2010. Bilingual Education. www.wikipedia.com.

Written by
Bila Nastiti T
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