teacher, student

Specific Subject vs. Multiple Subjects Teachers

Written by Alifa Ainun Lukum, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Students (or some of you may have graduated from school), like many of us, may hold memories of being inspired by a teacher or even just have favorite subjects for a specific teacher. It is even so much fun to learn when our favorite subjects are taught by the right teacher. But have you ever wondered why there is one teacher that teaches more than one subject?

First let’s start with what children learn in elementary school, specifically, in Indonesia. In Indonesia, children start elementary school when they turn seven years old by the 1st of July, which is slightly late compared to the majority of the ASEAN countries. However, some students choose to start at six. At this stage, children typically expand vocabulary skills, allowing for the expression of interests, thoughts, and feelings, begin to understand numerical concepts and read and write simple words and sentences. Children can also grow into individuals capable of living in groups. In order to achieve that, based on the regulation of the Ministry of Education and Culture, No.35 2010, teachers who teach in elementary schools have the authority and rights in the learning process of all subjects, except physical education and religious education. Therefore most teachers in elementary schools can teach multiple subjects.

On the other hand, high school is a time of increasing independence, — not just socially and emotionally, but also academically. High schoolers have more choices about which major they take. The goal is for them to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to be ready for college or even for a career. In Indonesia, high schools are divided into three majors; natural sciences (IPA), social sciences (IPS), and Language (Bahasa). Therefore teacher who teach in high school are mostly competent in their field. Teachers who teach specific subjects are responsible for preparing and delivering lessons, grading assignments, and providing feedback to students.

However, as we all know in Indonesia many teachers do not match their competency. The Teacher Competency Test (UKG) — one of the evaluation tools used to measure teacher competency in Indonesia— shows that in 2015 the average teacher competency score from elementary, middle school, and high school was below in minimum standard. Although this test can’t be the only indicator to define teacher quality, the result of this test still shows that many Indonesian teachers don’t have the minimum competence needed to facilitate quality learning for students. This often happens in several schools, especially in rural areas, where one of the factors is that there are not enough students to justify hiring multiple teachers. The Federation of Indonesian Teachers’ Union (FSGI) also emphasizes how inequity in teacher distribution forces many teachers to teach outside their field.

At the end of time, being a teacher is not an easy job. They are central to shaping minds and attitudes that could make an impact on our future generations. The Indonesian government needs to pay more attention to the shortage of teachers in schools.

Finally, happy World Teachers Day to every single teacher in this world. We owe gratitude to teachers across the country for making our country better.


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