Advancement of Islamic Education in Indonesia Requires Quality Data Support

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Dr. Suwendi, M.Ag.

Lecturer at the Graduate School of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta

The education sector needs to be a concern for anyone who will become the leader of this country. The advancement of the education sector needs to be done, one of which is by ensuring equitable, non-discriminatory access to education, improving the quality of the curriculum and teaching and learning approaches, and improving the welfare of teachers and educators.

In achieving these things, it is necessary to strengthen education data management as a basis for making appropriate policies for students, teachers, and the education ecosystem. 

Islamic Education Development

Islamic education is an important part of religious education that plays a role in shaping individuals who have Islamic morals. Through a wide range of educational pathways and levels, this sector helps prepare learners to assume social roles by understanding and practicing Islamic teachings.

Islamic education includes various institutions such as madrasas, Islamic boarding schools, madrasah diniyah takmiliyah, Quranic education, formal diniyah education, muadalah education units, ma’had aly, Islamic religious colleges, as well as Islamic religious education in public schools and colleges throughout Indonesia. All of them need to develop themselves.

In Indonesia’s education sector, there are two main instruments: School Operational Assistance (BOS), which focuses on the development of school facilities, infrastructure, and operations, and the Smart Indonesia Program (PIP), which allows underprivileged students to continue to attend school.

However, in its implementation, it is still found that the distribution of assistance is not well targeted due to invalid education data. This may be due to data recording errors, the lack of the number and quality of data management operators, unreliable technology, unsmooth integration between systems, unsupportive work tools, and others.

Data-based Policy Formulation

The Directorate General of Islamic Education of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (DG Pendis Kemenag), whose role is to formulate and implement policies and technical standardization in the field of Islamic Education, has had an Education Management Information System (EMIS) since 1998. 

EMIS is an information system that serves to integrate data in the Islamic Education sector. The presence of EMIS is a necessity for DG Pendis, among others, in order to fulfill the Decree of the Minister of Religious Affairs (KMA) Number 83 of 2022 concerning Education Data Management at the Ministry of Religion. EMIS continues to be developed with artificial intelligence to be able to present data and analysis results that are accurate, tested, relevant and real-time. Along with technological advances, EMIS is now known as EMIS 4.0. 

EMIS 4.0 is a system for storing and managing data records on the legality of institutions, students, teachers and education personnel, as well as facilities and infrastructure. EMIS 4.0 also provides data on student achievement, learning progress, and individual student educational needs. EMIS 4.0 has stored data on 86,343 education units, 10,464,648 students, 878,484 educators and 55,703 education personnel. 

Through the support of the Realizing Education’s Promise-Madrasah Education Quality Reform (REP-MEQR) program, EMIS has now been integrated with various other applications or information systems within the Ministry of Religious Affairs, such as BOS, PIP, EDM/e-RKAM, AKMI, RDM, SIMPATIKA, SIAGA, and others. EMIS is also part of the Super App “PUSAKA” as the Ministry’s one data portal so that users can benefit from comprehensive information, including religious and educational data, assistance, scholarships and training, and services that support the work of internal staff. 

EMIS should be a transparent and reliable source of information to support the day-to-day administrative activities of institutions and students. Ideally, EMIS should be the basis for evaluating, planning, budgeting and a reference for reflecting on the performance of Islamic education services over time. Thus, EMIS data should ‘speak volumes’ and have a very important role in policy-making for the advancement of Islamic education.

Change Management for All Relevant Parties

However, the availability of big data and its management technology does not necessarily guarantee a smooth journey from knowledge-base to policy making. We also need to pay attention to the people and process aspects. Beyond the technical aspects of EMIS operations, the Ministry of Religious Affairs needs to implement a change management program that touches all aspects of the EMIS business process.

EMIS data operators need to be protected by clear work regulations, proportional division of responsibilities with madrasah heads, clarity of career paths, improved welfare, supervision of the quality of work, as well as well-planned and sustainable capacity building programs.

On the other hand, it is important to raise madrasah principals’ awareness of the importance of data, which must be accompanied by a professional work attitude, technological literacy, cooperation with operators, a sense of ownership of this asset, and leadership with integrity.

Better alignment is also needed between internal systems in the management and presentation of data, so that each does not stand alone, which has implications for the lack of mutually reinforcing data contributions and no guarantee of data validity. 

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and its partner ministries, agencies, and local government organizations also need to ensure seamless integration between their data systems, even though they are generally based on the individual’s National Identification Number (NIK). There also needs to be a standard procedure for requesting and cooperating with data utilization between agencies so that the usefulness of EMIS is not only internal but also to fulfill external interests outside of Islamic education.

Given that EMIS is already the parent of a large amount of data, the Ministry of Religious Affairs also needs to master the principles of confidentiality and security of personal data, among others by complying with ISO 27001.

Finally, officials related to the development of Islamic education need to get used to formulating policies based on data. 

There have been a number of efforts as mentioned above. This paper is also part of the efforts for policy making through a neat ecosystem of education data collection, so that it is the best and brings benefits to the world of Islamic Education. 

Hopefully. (*)

Article published on Disway.id, (https://disway.id/read/770088/kemajuan-pendidikan-islam-di-indonesia-perlu-dukungan-data-berkualitas/30) on 16/03/2024 17.00 WIB. 

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