Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) Project: ‘Evaluating How Teacher Reforms in Decentralised Indonesia can Promote Learning Gains'

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
Policy Research

Indonesia has achieved a gender balanced near universal primary net enrollment and over 80 percent junior secondary school net enrollment in 2014 (PDSPK, 2015), yet its education system faces a learning crisis deemed a “state of emergency” by the outgoing Minister of Education, Anies Baswedan. Despite the country’s significant investments in education, the PISA scores fall at the bottom of the OECD rankings; and more than 75 percent of students failed to achieve even basic proficiency in mathematics (OECD, 2014).

Among the influencing factors, teacher’s quality is in major concern since a recent test of nearly 3 million teachers across the country in basic subjects revealed that most teachers did not pass (Baswedan, 2014). The immediate challenge facing the education system is how to use resources at the national and district levels most effectively to improve teaching quality and in turn student learning.

In order to address this challenge, in 2016, MoEC established a “Teacher Reforms Roadmap,” a significant system-level changes focused on: (1) teacher distribution, (2) teacher recruitment, (3) teacher training and career development, (4) identifying and rewarding the best teachers (in-service), and (5) extra resources for underserved schools and districts.

The success of the reform, however, will also depend on the strength of the main implementing entity – the district. While district governments have to operate within the regulatory and funding parameters set by the central government, they have considerable flexibility in determining their own basic education policies. Reform efforts at the national level can thrive or flounder based on the ability of the districts and how they implement the nationally-set regulations or guidelines.

Given this context, we propose two broad research areas of study under RISE Programme

  1. How do specific policies implemented under the Teacher Reforms Roadmap policy related to teacher distribution, recruitment, training, and rewards improve student learning? How does the decentralization of power to districts influence the success of the Roadmap programs?
  2. What reforms are being implemented by innovative districts focusing on improving learning and how are they performing? Have these districts made progress in improving student learning over the life of the study? Do innovations spread across districts and to national policy?


We plan to conduct a series of studies on national reforms and district innovations in a unified framework. We will analyse which types of policies are associated with improvements in teacher quality and where possible improved student learning, for both girls and boys living in the city as well as in remote villages. We will also learn how districts with different resources and accessibility conditions formulate their policies and come up with innovations, in order to provide insight into how effective district polices are adopted at scale.

Further information:


Sudarno Sumarto
Team Member 
Asri Yusrina
Nina Toyamah
Syaikhu Usman
Luhur Bima
Ulfah Alifia
Asep Suryahadi
Widjajanti Isdijoso
Sudarno Sumarto
Daniel Suryadarma
Prio Sambodho
Rizki Fillaili
Heni Kurniasih
Alia An Nadhiva
Goldy Fariz Dharmawan
Niken Rarasati
Awliya R. Hendaryanti
Nadya Novitri
Risa Wardatun Nihayah
Romatio Wulandari
Completion Year 
Project Donor 
This is a five years project funded by Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE Programme). Research on Improving Systems of Education is a large-scale education systems research programme funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for Internation
Managing Partner 
Oxford Policy Management (OPM); Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.
Technical Partner 
the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD); Mathematica Policy Research

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