Teachers in East Java, Indonesia, are on indefinite strike against temporary contracts. Thousands of teachers in the area are on temporary contracts, many for up to six years and some for as long as 25 years. The teachers are demanding to be put on civil service contracts and say they will strike until their demands are met. Meanwhile they are sitting in the main square in Nganjuk.

The struggle against the use of temporary contracts in Indonesia is a long one. Although Indonesia is one of the G20 club of rich nations, education is clearly low down on their spending priorities. Teachers in the country are poorly paid and around 600,000 are on temporary contracts - such teachers can receive as little as 10% of a regular teacher's salary. Teachers fought to regularise temporary contracts in 2011. Most contract teachers in Indonesia are not certified and have little chance of becoming so because a lack of money spent on teacher education. According to the leader of the teaching union, PGRI, “The Government is aware of what they are doing. The more teachers qualify and certify, the more they will have to pay. So they purposely slow the process down.” 

There is a teacher shortage in the countryside which leads to pupil dropout and failure to enroll - less than 60% of children in low income districts attend school. To read more about the Indonesian education context go here

The use of temporary contracts is one promoted by the World Bank, for instance in its document 'Making Schools Work', which sees the use of such contracts, along with accountability methods like perfomance related pay, as key to disciplining teachers. For teachers this means chronoically low pay, uncertainty, insecurity, frequently depression and even suicide.