Indonesia at independence was not richly endowed with educated
people. A few sparkling intellectuals trained abroad led the nationalist
movement, but the masses of the people received little or no education,
and no local institution was yet dignified by the title of university.
Indonesia has scored many noteworthy achievements in the last
forty years, but few accomplishments are more impressive than the steady
progress made in education. Placing its priorities in accordance with
accepted development theory, universal primary education came first, a
considerable accomplishment for so geographically and culturally diverse
Higher education has also expanded at a rapid rate, although with
varying standards of quality. Several institutions, most of them located
on Java, are able to produce people with a high level of skills, but the
nation must still rely to a considerable extent on training abroad for
the most advanced levels.
training has a long and proud history in Indonesia. The success of a
generation of senior economists, trained abroad with Ford Foundation
assistance (a group sometimes known affectionately as the “Berkeley
Mafia”), in dealing with Indonesia’s complex development problems,
has an honored place in international development literature. The
Government’s ability to contain runaway inflation, decentralize
economic activity, achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, and deal
with fluctuating oil prices
without becoming one of the world’s major debtors, provides some of
the more convincing evidence the economics profession has to offer of
the utility of their craft. Clearly, economists are not alone to be
credited with these accomplishments, depending as they do on effective
and wise administration, but a solid technical policy framework was an
indispensable element of success.
In addition to that well-known program, hundreds of trainees have
gone abroad on routine short-term or degree courses and returned to
contribute to their country’s development. In one USAID program alone,
Generalized Participant Training (GPT-I), which ran from 1967 to 1981,
1429 participants went to the United States to study. It is a remarkable
tribute to their abilities and to the devotion of Indonesians to their
country that only two of them failed to complete their courses and
return to Indonesia. Brain-drain was never a problem for this country.
These training programs, and many others with similar purposes,
were generally organized and managed by donor agencies. Donors knew best
the offerings of their own institutions, and they had, through their
offices in Indonesia, a sense of what additional skills were most needed
for development. In addition, well-trained Indonesians were confronted
by other tasks, which seemed more crucial to progress than the
relatively mundane administration of overseas training programs. They
were faced with the historical challenges of unifying the country,
building solid institutions, and reaching consensus on overall national
with donor-managed overseas training programs, despite their evident
successes, was that at the end of a particular project the executing
agency would fold up shop and go home, leaving little behind in the way
of accumulated experience. The next training project to come along had
to begin anew, establishing its own requirements and procedures for
selecting and preparing people to go abroad.
OVERSEAS TRAINING OFFICE (OTO) CONCEPT
At the time USAID and the Government of Indonesia (GOI)
negotiated GPT-II, in 1983 and 1984, they decided the time had come to
create an institutional capacity within the Government to administer
programs of this type, an Overseas Training Office (OTO) that could
administer other projects in addition to GPT-II and would carry on after
GPT-II came to an end. The OTO would not only retain its accumulated
experience in-country, it would be an efficient means of handling small
projects which did not warrant the creation of special implementing
In addition, the Government saw the OTO as a means of gaining
more control over its training process. Control in this sense does not
mean the simple exercise of power or authority over who goes where to
study. Control means the ability to plan for the satisfaction of
national requirements in a positive way rather than merely reacting to
the proposals or offers of donor organizations. As Indonesia assumes a
larger and larger share of its overseas training costs, it becomes
increasingly important to ensure that the process is both efficient and
In a very real
sense, overseas training has a higher place now on the scale of national
priorities than ever in the past, and a higher place than it is destined
to have in the future. The critical tasks of unifying the nation and
building a national consensus remain of major importance, but
accomplishments have rendered them less urgent. The nation can now
afford to devote more of its
attentions to the shaping of the competences on which the prosperity of
its people will rest.
At this stage, training abroad is a vital means of acquiring
these skills. In the distant future training will become, as it is in
the industrialized countries, primarily a maintenance function; a means
of passing on accepted ways of doing things to the next generation. In
present day Indonesia, however, overseas training has more the character
of Research and Development in the industrially advanced states: it is a
means for acquiring new and better systems and technologies. These
technologies often require adaptation and modification to make them fit
Indonesian needs, and that process, too, demands a high degree of skill.
These factors account for the special importance attached to overseas
training by the GOI.
The GOI has demonstrated in many ways the priority it attaches to
overseas training, including the unusual decision to contract for nearly
$200 million in loans from the World Bank to finance graduate training
in science and technology for the research institutions, and for
strengthening university faculties. High priority is also evident in the
organizational location accorded to OTO, and in the form of its
OTO is attached to the national planning agency, BAPPENAS. This location
lent stature to the fledgling office, and probably helped to protect its
budget in the austere period following the collapse of oil prices. OTO
is not a part of BAPPENAS, and does not share its responsibility for
controlling and monitoring the affairs of other ministries, but it is
physically proximate to the planning agency and organically
linked by virtue of the fact that the OTO Director, Drs. Saadillah
Mursjid, is also Secretary General and Deputy Chairman of BAPPENAS.
The OTO also
benefited by being made responsible to a National Steering Committee for
Overseas Training (NSCOT). Instead of appointing a project steering
committee for GPT-II, as is common practice, the GOI named a National
Steering Committee, which has a policy-making role extending beyond the
project. This in a way disappointed AID, which normally had a seat on
the project steering committee, but had no regular entree to NSCOT, but
on balance the greater stature of a national rather than project
approach served all concerned well.
NSCOT currently has the following membership:
Bintoro Tjokroamindjojo, MA, Chairman of the National Institute of
Lamtiur Panggabean, SH, MPIA, Assistant I to the Minister of State for
Burhanuddin Anwar Tajipnapis, MPH, Assistant II to the Minister of State
for Administrative Reform
Saadillah Mursjid, MPA, Deputy Chairman of BAPPENAS and Director of the
Moh. Widodo Condowardojo, SH, Head of the Bureau for Technical
Assistance Cooperation, SERKAB
Dono Iskandar Djojosubroto, Special Assistant to the Minister and Head
of the Center for State Budget Formulation and Analysis, Ministry of
Buchari Zainun, Director, School for Senior Staff, National Institute of
OF THE WORKING GROUPS
GPT-II was launched in late 1984 by the appointment of Drs.
Mursjid as Director and the arrival of Sherwood 0. Berg of MUCIA and
Richard Pagett of HIID, representing the prime and sub-contractors on
the project, respectively. MUCIA and HIID shared responsibility for
placing and monitoring participants in educational and training
institutions. An anticipated 25 PhDs, 175 MAs and 225 short-term
trainees would be financed by the program, a number which grew
substantially through supplementation as AID and the GOI gained
confidence in the program. HIID agreed to place candidates in management
and economics, while MUCIA, through its support office at the University
of Wisconsin, would handle other fields. Berg was Chief of Party, while
Pagett’s task was primarily to facilitate the establishment of the OTO
as an entity.
The early months of GPT-II were largely occupied with
establishing procedures for the orderly processing of candidates and
with making the existence of the project known to those who might
benefit from it. A number of participants already studying abroad, or in
the process of preparing for departure, were transferred to GPT-II from
other AID projects, thus sending GPT-II off to a running start.
Family health problems caused Pagett to leave Jakarta early in
1985. Two months ensued before he was replaced by Courtney Nelson, also
of HIID. By then the project was six months old and it was time to focus
on the broader responsibilities of OTO.
OTO was to have
both administrative and policy responsibilities. It was designed to
implement selected projects, such as GPT-II, and others that might from
time to time be assigned to it by NSCOT. At an early date, NSCOT determined
that no economies of scale would be achieved by bringing the large World
Bank-supported graduate training projects under the OTO. Each of them
was larger than GPT-II, and each was designed to serve the needs of a
single ministry. OTO would be assigned to implement general training
projects, those designed to serve a number of ministries, and smaller
projects that could benefit from the provision of common services.
The broader task of the OTO was to define national overseas
training issues and offer staff support for NSCOT policy-making
functions; and to provide services to other government departments
sending trainees abroad. The most critical issues facing the OTO had to
do with selection and predeparture preparation, particularly language
training and academic orientation. In addition, OTO needed to assist
agencies to draw up long-range training plans.
Within the GPT-II project, funds for 17 months of consultants’
services had been provided for work on issues such as these. At that
point, however, the senior staff positions in the OTO had yet to be
filled. To bring in expatriate consultants under these circumstances was
to run the risk of producing a set of reports that would serve as shelf
ornaments, because the officials who could act on the recommendations
were not in place. Yet, delays in the deployment of consultants risked a
slow start on the task of establishing the OTO, for which only a little
over a year had been allotted.
was to recruit senior local consultants to work with the visitors and
then be available to help implement the recommendations. This idea
solved the immediate problem, and it turned out to have other advantages
as well. When the binational team worked out well, as it did in most
cases, a synergistic relationship resulted. The foreign expert could not
have produced as useful a report alone as the Group produced together,
and the local expert, even if able to produce the report, would have had
difficulty gaining the audience necessary for it to be acted upon.
Another by-product of the Working Group device was that it gave
OTO access on a continuing basis to a high level of expertise in
critical areas. None of the Working Group chairs was prepared to give up
his or her university appointment, but all were quite ready to devote
substantial portions of their time to the OTO, where their knowledge
could be translated into action. The first local consultant identified
was Dr. Amran Halim, Professor of Linguistics at Sriwijaya University.
Dr. Halim is former head of the National Language Center, and he has
since become rector of his university. In selection testing, Dr. Sumadi
Suryabrata of Gadjah Mada University was a recognized leader in the
field. Dr. Saparinah Sadli, Professor of Psychology at the University of
Indonesia, a former dean of the faculty, took the lead in academic and
cross-cultural orientation. And Dr. Suryono, who recently received his
doctorate in public administration at the University of Southern
California, was lent to the OTO by the National Institute of
Administration (LAN) to work on training plans.
A flurry of
activity burst upon the OTO in August 1985, as Working Groups in English
Language Teaching (ELT), Selection Testing (ST), and Training
Plans (TP) swung into action. The academic and cross-cultural
orientation group began the following month.
ELT WORKING GROUP
language speaking ability is generally considered to be one of the most
severe constraints on overseas training for Indonesians. In some parts
of the world, the mastery of a foreign tongue is quite common, almost a
regular part of growing up. In Indonesia, as in America, this is not the
case; foreign language speaking ability is the exception rather than the
rule. In 1985, it was the common perception among donor agencies that
the pool of Indonesians linguistically qualified for graduate study
abroad was diminishing. Even with six months’ intensive study at
either of the excellent ELT centers in Jakarta, the British Council and
the Australian Language Center, a distressingly high percentage of
candidates were failing to achieve threshold levels for admission to
universities in those countries or the United States.
The British Council sponsored a study and issued a report in May
1985, entitled “Survey of Language Needs in Indonesian Public
Administration and Public Sector Management,” more conveniently
referred to as the Webb Report. The most frequently cited figure in the
Report was the estimate that only 42% of the available opportunities for
overseas study had been utilized in the past two years, largely because
of the shortage of candidates with adequate English language competence.
Some knowledgeable people suggested that 25% was nearer the mark, but
that only emphasized the seriousness of a problem bound to get worse as
the two major World Bank-supported training programs became active.
The OTO called a meeting in mid-July of representatives of donor
agencies interested in ELT. This was the first of a useful series of
gatherings at which common problems could be discussed and donor groups
informed of OTO activities. Not all of the Webb Report’s
recommendations were endorsed at the meeting, but the gravity of the
problem was agreed.
admonished that development projects should be scrutinized to ensure
their language-teaching requirements were adequately financed. This point
had particular meaning for GPT-II because no AID funds had been included
for ELT, that responsibility falling to the GOI. It was already clear
that qualified candidates for GPT-II were not abundant and that the GOI
was not then organized to substantially increase ELT. Several years
earlier, BAPPENAS had determined that the provision of ELT funds in
regular budgets was often abused. Language preparation for specific
overseas training opportunities was permitted, but this required a
greater lead-time than was practical in most cases.
Dr. Halim determined that two consultants could usefully be
employed to work with him, in defining the dimensions of the ELT problem
with regard to overseas training, and in devising policy recommendations
for alleviating the problem. One consultant, with management skills,
would quantify the demand for ELT in terms of opportunities available to
the GOI, estimate the costs of meeting the demand, and suggesting how
the costs should be shared between donor and GOI. The other, with ELT
skills, would help to assess in-country language teaching capacity and
estimate the time and resource requirements for achieving English
proficiency from various levels of preparedness.
Richard Pagett returned to Indonesia for the management task.
MUCIA recruited Dr. Jeffrey Dreyfuss of the Wisconsin English Language
Institute for the other position. The team, having only three weeks in
which to prepare its report, relied heavily on other studies for basic
data: the Webb Report, and documents produced for their own purposes on
ELT needs and sources of supply by the Australian Language Center and
the Canadian CIDA.
The Group first
gathered the most reliable information on the numbers of overseas
training opportunities available to the GOI, the number of people who
actually go abroad, and the kind of pre-departure training they receive,
especially in the English
language. They then identified which Government policies might
unintentionally constrain language teaching and learning. Finally, they
formulated a set of strategic recommendations through which the GOI and
the international community could cooperate to improve the situation.
presented its quantitative data and strategic recommendations to a
second donor meeting in late August, and then held meetings with Drs.
Mursjid and Dr. William Fuller, the USAID Mission Director, to plan
follow-up action. The key recommendations were that candidates for
overseas training should be selected without regard to previous language
training and then given intensive instruction to the level required for
graduate school admission, around 550 on the TOEFL. The GOI should be
responsible for bringing candidates to the 475 TOEFL level, but beyond
that ELT should be considered an integral part of the overseas training
process and financed by the donor accordingly. It was not proposed that
the OTO organize in-house ELT classes, but that the Office could play a
coordinating and brokering role, arranging intensive instruction for
candidates sponsored by different training programs but at the same
level of language-learning. The training model proposed involved three
four-month ELT courses in-country for a candidate entering with a TOEFL
score in the 300s, followed by a two-month course in the country of
study. Those with better English could enter whichever course level was
appropriate. The GOI would be responsible for the first two levels of
training and the donor the last two.
WORKING GROUP ON SELECTION
In the past, each project devised its own selection procedures
for training at the graduate level. As could be expected, some were more
effective than others. Typically, undergraduate grade-point averages,
personal interviews and job performance were taken into account,
although factors such as seniority and favoritism could not always be
excluded. The Ministry of Education and Culture was confident that its
candidates had the opportunity to demonstrate high potential before
being selected for advanced training, but the rate of expansion
projected for the university system in Repelita IV would require
increasingly early selections to be made. Other ministries generally had
less academic experience on which to judge candidates.
Perhaps the main criterion for selection in reality often turned
out to be foreign language familiarity. Most training opportunities
offered by donor assistance agencies, if they provide language training
at all, limit it to no more than six months. In some projects, 90% of
the candidates proposed were rejected by the language centers as having
inadequate backgrounds to be able to achieve graduate school entrance
within that period.
The need for an
objective measurement device for graduate-level candidates was evident
before the start of GPT-II. At least three training programs, one at the
Ministry of Finance, one at BPPT and the third in computer sciences at
UI, had improvised by translating items from published GRE or GMAT
sample tests into the Indonesian language. A more systematic process of
devising, standardizing and validating tests would surely meet an
The Ministry of Education and Culture suggested Dr. Sumadi
Suryabrata, professor of psychology at Gadjah Mada University, to work
with the MUCIA consultant, Dr. Daniel Mueller of the University of
Indiana, in determining the merits of constructing an Indonesian
language academic aptitude test and figuring out how to get it done. Dr.
Sumadi has a PhD from the University of Iowa and has been involved in
virtually every major initiative in the mental measurements field in
Indonesia for the past 20 years.
This Group quickly realized that the more difficult task was not
the construction of the initial academic aptitude test, but the
development of a process for renewing and revising the test, ensuring
reliability, validity, and comparability of the different versions, and
maintaining test security. They recommended a three-stage process
culminating in the creation of a national testing service.
Stage One, lasting only two months in the Fall of 1985, would be
devoted to the modification of existing tests in Bahasa Indonesia,
principally the ones used by the Ministry of Finance and BPPT, and the
translation of additional items in order to produce an instrument for
use on an experimental basis in November, 1985. Stage Two, lasting a
year, would see the construction of a new test utilizing appropriate
empirical test construction procedures, and Stage Three would comprise a
two-year period in which test revisions and validations would take
place. The Group recommended the formation of a national testing service
at the end of Stage Three, in mid-1988, quite possibly encompassing the
national university selection process as well as graduate-level
The Group discussed its findings with selected members of the
mental measurement community in a seminar at BAPPENAS in late August.
They also presented their recommendations to senior officials of the
Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Finance, BPPT, NSCOT,
TRAINING PLANS WORKING GROUP
Ministries and agencies of the Government of Indonesia have
formally been required to construct training plans since 1974, but in
practice few do so. NSCOT made the existence of a plan a requirement for
any agency to participate in overseas training, but in August 1985, nine
months after the announcement of this policy, only ten agencies had
complied and their efforts were extremely uneven.
The OTO identified C. David Esch of the Institute of Public
Administration (IPA) in Washington, D.C., as consultant. Esch had
recently assisted LAN in organizing a course for senior civil servants
and he understood the administrative system. Dr. Soerjono, a LAN
employee recently returned with a PhD in public administration from USC,
was assigned to work with Esch for the two weeks he was in Jakarta.
Group studied the training plans submitted, talked with administrative
authorities in LAN and elsewhere, and held two seminars with over 30
departmental officials at each to discuss the planning process. Their
report stressed process rather than product. The departments must do the
initial training plans because only they know the content of their
organizational tasks. OTO can and should provide technical assistance to
the gradual upgrading of these plans, but NSCOT was advised not to be
overly critical of first-round efforts. Each year, the planning process
could be improved until the point when it would become a valued element
in the organizational management process.
recommended that OTO consultants, seconded from LAN, work with not more
than three or four ministries in 1985 to improve their training plans
and that a major attempt to upgrade the process be deferred until 1986.
END OF ROUND ONE
By the end of August, when the first three Working Groups had
completed their initial reports, the OTO had moved to a higher plane of
action and significance. Common to each report was the theme that
achieving greater quality of performance in planning, selection and the
preparation of candidates for overseas training was within the range of
possibility for the OTO, but a year of solid effort would be required in
each field to develop adequate support systems.
It might be possible, and less costly in the short run, to
continue selecting candidates on the basis of foreign language ability
and occupational seniority -- schools could as always be found to accept
them and the failure rate might be low, in the sense that they would
eventually receive their intended degrees.
NSCOT and USAID became convinced, however, on the basis of the
Working Group reports, that the opportunity costs of this approach would
be substantial in that the people with the most innate ability might not
be selected, and those selected would often be placed in inferior
schools relative to their abilities because they had not been adequately
The Working Groups were therefore granted the funds and authority
to pursue their recommendations. The binational character of the Groups
diminished with the departure of the foreign consultants, but they or
others reappeared from time to time, and in a way their main tasks had
been accomplished: they helped to empower their counterparts to perform
the essential tasks for which they had been trained, by clarifying the
need for these activities and bringing the case to the attention of
national policy-makers. This role is most difficult to play from within
Before examining the actions followed by these three initial
Groups, we look at the fourth, which began its activities two months
later than the others.
WORKING GROUP ON ACADEMIC AND CROSS-CULTURAL ORIENTATION
One of the early accomplishments of this Group was the change of
its name. Recognizing that the full title was cumbersome and the acronym
no better, they devised the term Cross-cultural Orientation for
Participant Effectiveness (COPE). This term actually refers to an
intensive one-week program the Group devised for participants
immediately before their departure for study abroad, but the acronym is
so punchy that it has come to apply to the Group itself.
Dr. R. Michael Paige, Associate Director of the Office of
International Education at the University of Minnesota, was unavailable
in August but was able to join Professor Sadli for two months beginning
in late September. She was acquainted with the efforts of the other
Groups, but found her Group dealing with a more amorphous task.
In the process of preparing Indonesian students for graduate
study in the United States, the language training requirements are
measurable and quite specific. Beyond language training, however, are a
set of equally important readiness variables that are somewhat less
quantifiable and less well understood. These variables range from the
quality of academic preparation up to and including undergraduate work,
the differences in educational methods and practices between Indonesia
and the US, and cultural factors that may affect performance as
evaluated by US educators.
The COPE Group set itself to assessing the quality of orientation
offered in existing programs; interviewing returned students and
searching the literature for evidence of the nature of orientation
problems encountered by Indonesian participants; and defining
experimental techniques for dealing with them. Their task was
complicated by the general perception that Indonesian students do well
abroad academically and seldom have to return prematurely due to
maladaptation to their circumstances. This view was countered by equal
recognition that Indonesian students tend to cluster to themselves
socially, frequently refrain from the give-and-take of classroom
exchanges which typify US graduate education, and experience difficulty
with writing assignments, particularly those of an analytical character.
The Group contacted leading local language centers and found them
very interested in academic skills upgrading and cultural orientation.
The sponsors of students preparing for study in the US were often,
however, mainly interested in improved TOEFL scores. That test does not
measure writing skills, and the amount of time that can be devoted to
non-testable skills is limited. The students themselves often question
whether a given activity will help them pass the TOEFL.
The COPE Group and the language centers worked out a pattern of
cooperation that continues. In addition, they determined that a
separate, intense, 60-hour program should be offered, in which
participants would be prepared for cross-cultural experience just before
they embarked. In developing the content for the week-long COPE, the
Group decided to call on talents from two groups in Indonesia: the
Faculty of Psychology at the University of Indonesia, and Bina Antar
Budaya. The latter is a yayasan, or private foundation, which grew out
of an international student exchange program called American Field
Service (now known simply as AFS).
Bina Antar Budaya members have all traveled abroad, many spending
one of their high school years living with a family in another country.
Over the years, they have gained a great deal of experience in preparing
young people for cross-cultural experiences. AFS groups in many
countries share their knowledge and training techniques, making the
organization the repository of vast practical information about
The people from
the Faculty of Psychology brought a theoretical underpinning to the
effort. They were often less experienced in actually participating in
and preparing people for cross-cultural living and studying, but they
were better grounded in the literature, such as it is, than those from
the yayasan. In reality, the literature pertaining to methods of
preparing graduate students for work in another culture is not abundant.
The COPE Working Group is almost from the beginning breaking new ground.
The fact that they are Indonesians preparing their students for
experience abroad is particularly unusual, although it seems curious
that this should be so. There are many foreign student advisors employed
by US universities working on the problem from the other end, helping foreign
students adapt to conditions once they are already in the university.
In January, Professor Joseph Mestenhauser, Director of the Office
of International Education at the University of Minnesota, came out to
join Dr. Sadli in carrying forward the work of the Group started with
the assistance of his colleague, Paige. Mestenhauser is 1987-88
President of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors, (NAFSA),
and has a strong grounding in cross-cultural psychology. During his
visit, the COPE Group, including prospective trainers from UI and Bina
Antar Budaya, held a weekend retreat at Ancol to discuss the literature
in the field and the psychological theory that might be useful in
preparing materials for the COPE.
Then Dr. Sadli and the trainers set to work developing training
materials in the Indonesian language. In May 1986 they held a practice
COPE of two and a half days, attended by participants en route to the US
for September enrolment. The participants were divided into two groups,
one led by Faculty people and the other by Bina Antar Budaya trainers.
That turned out to be unwise; a synthesis of theory and experience was
needed, not a program featuring one approach or the other.
In the summer of 1986, Dr. Sadli and five of the trainers
attended a two-week seninar on cross-cultural research at the University
of Hawaii. From there, most of them went on to the mainland, where they
visited many Indonesian students at various universities and got
first-hand knowledge of the kinds of problems that most concerned them.
This was an excellent learning experience for the COPE group.
Jakarta, at a meeting with staff from the language training centers, the
problem of poor study habits arose. The ELT staff found the
single-minded pursuit of TOEFL scores by the students to be a constraint
on learning many of the other aspects of the use of English that are
important to success in graduate studies. The language teachers thought
the COPE Working Group could help bring the participants to understand
the need for a balanced approach to language, not just a TOEFL
The COPE Group presented a 20-hour weekend workshop on study
skills to advanced language students in late October. Paige, who is
fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, returned to observe, but not participate, in
the session, and to prepare an evaluation process to measure the
results. The balance of the COPE, an additional 40 hours, is to be given
to the participants near their departure dates.
The COPE Group has recently been called upon for another
interesting undertaking. The issue arose of how much intensive language
instruction is required by candidates for undergraduate training in the
Netherlands. Sadli and Nani Nurrahman, one of the COPE trainers from UI,
were asked to do a brief study of the issue and report to the
negotiators of a bilateral study program. Working Groups such as COPE
can readily handle this kind of applied research on immediate policy
issues, because of the expertise they command and their freedom from
routine managerial responsibilities.
to be an experimental activity. There is the practical problem of
scheduling the full COPE workshop: advanced language training ends in
January and the departure of participants can be anywhere from May to
August. January is thought to be too far in advance of departure for the
training to be most effective, but it is logistically and financially
difficult to re-assemble participants just before departure. In
addition, it is difficult to measure the results of the COPE. The
language centers were very pleased with the results of the study skills
workshop, but solid evidence of achievement is hard to come by because
of the nature of the task.
The path-breaking nature of this work is gaining recognition internationally,
as evidenced by the invitation by NAFSA for COPE to send a
representative to its annual meeting. Nani Nurrahman made a presentation
on COPE in San Diego in May
OF SELECTION AND ELT WORKING GROUPS
Professor Sumadi’s test was ready for administration in
November 1985, as planned. He was able to use the preliminary efforts of
the Ministry of Finance and BPPT as a starting point, and to supplement
these materials with translations of items from old GREs and GMATs as
well as by devising new items. He called the result Tes Potensi Akademik
On November 30, 1985, the TPA was administered to 941 candidates
at 18 locations around the country. The Institute for International
Education (IIE) operates a network of testing centers in Indonesia for
the periodic administration of TOEFL, GRE and other Educational Testing
Service (ETS) instruments, and the local IIE office contracted to
administer the TPA in the morning and the pre-TOEFL in the afternoon at
the designated sites. To provide broader geographic coverage, OTO staff
members set up four sites in addition to the IIE network, those in Bali
and Lombok receiving particularly generous attention.
The test is
composed of three parts, Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical, as is the
GRE. The results of the November tests revealed a normal distribution of
quantitative scores, a mean of 45.29 out of 90 and a standard deviation
of 15.8. Lower than normal scores were recorded on the verbal and
analytical sections. The mean verbal score was 36.38 out of 90 and the
mean analytical score was 24.57 out of 70 or 35%. The highest scores
achieved were 85 on the quantitative section, 64 on the verbal and 51 on
These results are similar to the experience of most Asian
students taking the GRE in the United States. Lack of familiarity with
English, a factor in the GRE, would not pertain in the TPA since it was
offered in Bahasa Indonesia. The verbal section of the TPA did, however,
contain a number of recently coined words dealing with scientific
phenomena that may not have found general acceptance or awareness as
Low analytical scores present an intriguing problem. Quite
possibly, the verbal analogies employed in Western culture are different
in kind from those employed in the Indonesian culture. Also, Indonesian
students have not usually encountered tests of this sort before. More
practice may improve their performance. OTO flagged this issue as one
deserving more investigation in the future.
The value of
the TPA was demonstrated and enhanced by the administration of the Pre-TOEFL
at the same time. Some candidates scored high on both tests, and they
would presumably have been selected for overseas training no matter what
selection process was used. Others did well on the Pre-TOEFL but poorly
on the TPA. They may still be selected by various programs because of
the ease with which they can pass language thresholds, and their
academic records will be worth tracing to see how well TPA serves as a
predictor. The most rewarding result of the test, however, was the
identification of people with high academic aptitude and low pre-TOEFL scores.
These were the people unlikely to have been selected using other
methods, despite their intellectual promise. Five candidates out of the
top 20, excluding university people, had pre-TOEFL scores of under 400.
They would need from four to eight months of intensive instruction
before they could be expected to be admitted to most preparatory
The principal purpose of offering the TPA at that time was to
test the test, to provide data for checking item reliability. The
ministries responded so well to the invitation to participate that the
results were useful for the initial screening of candidates as well.
USAID agreed to support experimental language courses at the
basic, intermediate and advanced levels in the first six months of 1986.
This allowed time for the GOI fiscal year to end and another to begin,
at which time the GOI would assume the costs of basic and intermediate
level training and USAID would continue to support advanced level
training in Indonesia and the US. On the basis of TPA and pre-TOEFL
scores, OTO selected 48 candidates to begin basic ELT, 54 for
intermediate, and 48 for advanced training.
It was up to the ELT Working Group to arrange courses for these
150 people. The Australian Language Center and the British Council, the
premier ELT facilities in Indonesia, offered full cooperation. The BC
provided OTO with a staff member on loan to help manage the program, and
OTO hired another ELT specialist from ALC.
courses, in which native-speakers are generally the most effective
teachers, were allotted to ALC and BC. The BC offered one intermediate
course, and ALC had one intermediate and one at the basic level. This
allowed the centers the opportunity to develop curricula at more elementary
levels than they normally offered courses, and put them in a position to
provide technical assistance to regional universities mounting courses
at these levels. After the first round, it was intended that all basic
and elementary courses should be offered at universities rather than the
more costly language centers.
The Bahasa Lembaga at Sriwijaya University in Palembang, Sumatra,
admitted 36 candidates at the basic level in January, and Hasanuddin
University in Ujung Pandang, Sulawesi, began courses at both basic and
intermediate levels in March. Sriwijaya had an on-going program that was
expanded to admit the CPT-II candidates, but the Hasanuddin courses had
to be organized from scratch. Six teachers from Hasanuddin spent a week
working with staff at BC and ALC in preparation for these courses, and
staff exchanges and curriculum development meetings have been held
frequently among all four institutions since then.
Most of the classes began in late January or early February in
order to be able to complete one full four-month cycle before the start
of Ramadan, the holy month. Delays in obtaining pre-TOEFL test results
led to the notification of ministries of the eligibility of their
candidates for language training in some cases only a week before the
course began. Of the 36 identified for admission to the Sriwijaya
course, 34 showed up in Sumatra one week later to begin studies.
extraordinary alacrity with which these ELT opportunities were taken up
indicates the pent-up demand for such training on the part of the
candidates and their employers. It testifies to the remarkable ability
of the machinery of Government to move quickly when it really wants to,
and it is a strong demonstration
of the discipline of the Indonesian civil servants.
Not all were happy to be in Palembang for four months, away from
family and friends in a provincial city. Nevertheless, they, like the
people at the other three sites, persevered with their studies until
relieved by the fasting month of Ramadan. Since that cycle of courses, a
BELT course has been inaugurated at LAN, and other sites in Jakarta and
elsewhere in Java are currently being explored.
After the first ELT cycle was over, the Working Group assessed
results, particularly the fit between where one course left off and the
next was supposed to begin. In this they had the full cooperation of
professionals from ALC, BC, Sriwijaya and Hasanuddin, plus the
assistance of Dr. Richard Tucker, President of the Center for Applied
Linguistics in Washington, who came out as a consultant. Tucker was much
impressed with the accomplishments of the program and the utility of the
TPA in selecting candidates who warrant the investment of intensive ELT.
He and the others found, however, that the initial estimates of the time
it takes to achieve substantial gains in TOEFL scores, particularly at
the higher levels, had been optimistic. As a result, the course levels
were re-calibrated and optional loops built in to permit slower students
to repeat certain segments.
The annual cycle of TPA administration and ELT courses was also
worked out so that candidates will no longer have only a week to pack
their bags. The TPA is now offered regularly twice each year, the number
of takers increasing each time until now, when about 2000 show up. IIE
still administers the test using an expanded TOEFL network.
Fewer candidates are selected for training now, because GPT-II
funds are largely committed. Even a supplement of $10,000,000 made by
USAID in 1986 is already obligated for candidates. Other programs are
using the TPA for selection, however, including some USAID projects and
some other bilateral and international projects. In addition, one
program has used it for selection to an Indonesian graduate school, and
BAPPENAS has used it in evaluating candidates for professional
The TPA clearly does not suffer from neglect. If anything, the
tendency is for it to be relied upon too heavily. No selection test
should be the sole or primary criterion for choosing people for training
or employment. It can become, and the TPA is rapidly becoming, a
necessary element in the choice, but other factors such as work
experience, grade-point average and interviews must play a part in the
Group on Training Plans has had less evident success. This may in part
be due to the fact that the Indonesian member was not in practice the
head of the team, as was the case in the other Groups, and was not able
to continue on a part-time basis with OTO after the departure of the
foreign consultant. More importantly, perhaps, training plans only
become genuinely meaningful when they are substantially funded. Projects
drawn up for strengthening the capacity of an agency or institute will
often include funds for overseas training, the uses of which will be
carefully defined. It is less likely that the same care will be devoted
to constructing a training plan in the hope that one or more employees
will qualify for a government-wide selection process. Moreover, one
could make the case that it is more important to select individuals on
the basis of their academic potential, and assume that they will find a
way to use the training they
receive, than to invest in training the cadre of a department and assume
that they will remain in the positions for which they were trained.
Other consultative activities could be called Working Groups but
lack the essential dynamics of the ELT, TPA and COPE Groups. For
example, Herbert Roberts, a retired AID training officer, assisted the
OTO on two occasions to perfect a D Base III system for handling
participant data. He works closely with Bambang Widlanto, an able
BAPPENAS electronic engineer, and together they have produced a highly
useful system that may be adopted by other projects administered in
Indonesia. This is a discrete technical activity, however, rather than a
continuing process of development under Indonesian leadership, as in the
WORKING GROUP TASKS
The TPA, ELT and COPE Groups all have substantial agendas facing
them. Until now, Professor Sumadi, with the part-time assistance of Dr.
Soetarlinah Soekadji, has revised the TPA and created new items each
time the test was to be administered. The TPA needs to be
institutionalized, preferably by being broadened into a national testing
center that could handle university admission tests as well as the TPA.
Additional staff need to be hired, and more sent off for advanced
training. Scoring machines and computers for use in item banking are
needed. Security needs to be improved. The course ahead is clear, if not
ELT has a similarly long list of tasks before it. Additional
regional universities need help in developing basic and intermediary ELT
programs. Sriwijaya and UI may need the capacity to offer advanced
Curriculum development must continue at all levels, and some
thought should be given to a program for training ELT trainers abroad.
COPE remains in an experimental mode. In addition to testing and
refining the COPE itself, the group will continue to be called upon for
advice or research on particular intercultural problems. The COPE Group
will remain on the frontier of the intercultural field in the
Beyond the boundaries of the current array of Working Groups, the
OTO faces additional challenges for which this collaborative approach
may be suitable. A Working Group on Academic Upgrading has already been
formed under the chairmanship of the Rector of Sacha Wachana University,
Dr. Willi Toisuta. Two senior American consultants helped to define the
problem: Dr. Michael Moravcik, a physicist from the University of
Oregon, and Dr. David Cole, an economist from HIID. Special offerings in
mathematics, statistics and analytical writing are to be added to the
advanced ELT course at some future date.
The materials designed for this purpose could in time have an
important impact on university education in Indonesia generally. They
are characterized by a questioning, problem-solving approach that is
often thought to be lacking in Indonesian higher education.
for future attention include overseas placement, support and monitoring
of participants, and the re-entry process. Until now, OTO has relied
upon support services provided by MUCIA at the University of Wisconsin
and by HIID for the placement, support and monitoring of students. Both
offices have long experience assisting Indonesian students; they are
easy to deal with and familiar with the educational backgrounds of the candidates.
In time the OTO will of course wish to review its options for handling
students abroad, including exploring the possibility of opening its own
offices. Drs. Mursjid will make a preliminary review of service options
late in 1987.
The re-entry issue is as multidimensional and experimental as
COPE, and a Working Group is needed on the subject. The complexity
arises not just from the individual adjustment that the return to
Indonesia entails. Re-entry into the workplace, where the benefits of
the overseas experience may not be recognized, could be facilitated. The
adaptation of newly learned skills and techniques to Indonesian
realities is a vast, unexamined problem.
A beginning of the process of understanding re-entry problems
should result from an assessment of the impact of overseas training
being undertaken by OTO with AID support. This study is intended to deal
analytically with the benefits of overseas graduate training to the
individuals and to the organizations employing them. Interviews with
several hundred returnees will be the basis for the study.
The Working Groups are a story in progress. Fortunately, no end
to their usefulness to the OTO is in sight. Whether the binational
approach used by OTO would be useful to other Indonesian institutions,
or institutions in other countries, is an open question, but our
assumption is that if care is taken in the selection of both local and
foreign participants, the device has some valuable features that could
To some extent
the Working Groups take advantage of apparent flaws in the Indonesian
system. The necessity of most Indonesian professionals, especially in
the university system, to supplement their incomes through outside
employment is widely and justly deplored. Yet this feature served OTO
well by allowing leading individuals from the university world to work
several days each week for the OTO without damage to their academic
In general, the pairing of local and foreign experts on a single
task is likely to be very productive. The particular knowledge of the
one complements the more general knowledge of the other. Access to
policy-makers and other key figures is likely to be greater together
than either would have separately. In some cases the status of a foreign
visitor is useful, and at other times intimate local knowledge of whom
it is essential to see about what is of great importance.
The Working Groups continue to be binational in character, even
though the foreign visitors come only once or twice each year. The
consultants who proved most valuable tend to be invited to return
periodically, a considerable saving in the orientation period necessary
for a visitor to become useful. The OTO, essentially an interface
between Indonesia and countries in which Indonesians study, should, I
think, cherish its multinational character and not aspire to be an
organization wholly staffed by Indonesians.
And so the Working Group story is in part the story of Mueller
and Mestenhauser, Pagett and Paige; but it is even more the story of
Sumadi, Sadli, Amran Halim and Willi Toisuta. It is a story of
successful technical assistance; that is, the creation of an
organization where the local people do the real work and their society
reaps the benefits.