FREEDOM TO LEARN
By: Steve Han
English Teacher of Elyon Christian Primary School
It’s like watching a Netflix-episode of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition. Several groups of students bounce ideas back and forth. The leader assigns different roles. A few can be seen on their laptops doing research, and some others are drawing mock-ups of an application that helps people donate to the charity of their choice. They then present their projects in front of the classroom. Loud claps and cheer. You can see they put a lot of effort into it. It’s another day of teaching at Elyon Christian School, and this is Merdeka Belajar.
The current minister of education, culture, research and technology Nadiem Makarim has stated that most parents still have a misconception about his new program, Merdeka Belajar. “Freedom doesn’t mean the students can choose to study or not; it doesn’t mean students are free to do their assignments or not.” said Nadiem.
The minister decides to ditch the National Exam and choose National Assessment instead because he believes each child should be assessed differently. Nadiem explains that Merdeka Belajar is a program that focuses more on students exploring their own interests and talents; it facilitates learning by giving students an opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. When a student is excited to learn, he or she feels engaged and retains more.
Nadiem also thinks that project-based learning will play an important role in Merdeka Belajar since it hones students’ independence, creativity, and character. Elyon Christian School understands this. We believe that our children are shaped by Christ. We admit that each child is smart and special.
And if we welcome that truth, shouldn’t we, as parents, rethink our understanding of learning and adopt Merdeka Belajar?