“I will fight for the freedom to learn”: a speech by Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim
At the National Teachers’ Day Commemoration Ceremony 2019
Good morning and virtuous greetings to all,
Generally, tradition goes that Teachers’ Day is a day full of inspirational and eloquent words. I’m sorry, but I’ll be a little different today. I want to speak from the heart, to all teachers in Indonesia, from Sabang to Merauke.
Beloved teachers of Indonesia, your task is simultaneously the most noble and the most difficult of all.
You are tasked with shaping the future of our nation, but are given regulations more often than support. You want to help those students who are feeling left behind in class, but your time is spent on seemingly inconsequential administrative tasks.
You know that a child’s potential cannot be truly captured by exam results but, under pressure from various stakeholders, are forced to chase after numbers anyway.
You want to inspire students to learn about the world around them, outside the classroom, but your curriculum requires that the classroom doors remain shut to adventure.
You are frustrated because you know that in the real world, a child’s success will be determined by their ability to collaborate and by their ability to work, not their ability to memorise.
You know that every child has different needs, but the bureaucracy has prized uniformity over diversity.
You want every child to feel inspired, but you aren’t given the freedom to innovate.
I will not give you empty promises. Change is a difficult thing, an uncomfortable thing. One thing is for sure, I will fight for the freedom to learn in Indonesia.
However, change cannot begin from the top. Everything begins and ends with teachers. Don’t wait for permission, don’t wait for an instruction. Take the first step.
Tomorrow, wherever you are, make a small change in your class.
- Lead your class to discuss, not simply to listen.
- Create opportunities for students to teach the class.
- Start a social enterprise project that involves the whole class.
- Identify talent in those students who lack self confidence.
- Offer support to fellow teachers experiencing difficulties.
Even if the change is small, if each teacher plays their part, the big ship that is Indonesia will begin to move.
Happy Teachers’ Day,
#independentlearning #teachersonthemove (#merdekabelajar #gurupenggerak)