English in the 2013 curriculum
The education policy has in Indonesia been constantly changing for decades to adjust to the development of science and technology.
For that purpose, the government is also constantly revising the curriculum to meet the ever changing challenge.
Recently, the government introduced the 2013 curriculum. The new curriculum has its pros and cons, particularly in connection with English language teaching (ELT) for young learners.
Those who object to the new curriculum think that it offers less room to teach English in elementary schools.
In fact, there is still wide opportunity for students to have English lessons.
The government has made ELT for young learners local content in every elementary school.
Many believe that ELT for young learners in Indonesia has been rapidly growing due to the awareness of many parties about the role of English as tool of communications in the international community.
Many also believe that English is important to get a good education and a better job. Currently, many schools offer bilingual classes following the elimination of the International School Pilot Project (RSBI). Classes use both Indonesian and English in their instruction.
Meanwhile, private English courses are also mushrooming in response to the awareness of the importance of English and because most schools are unable to provide their student with a good command of English.
I believe that schools in Indonesia have a wide opportunity to teach English to their students. In the new curriculum, however, there is flexibility. Schools have a choice of whether or not to teach English.
If they think it is an urgent subject and students can access learning recourses, an elementary school could teach English to its students.