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A. Background

As we know that, nowadays most of educations in Indonesia add foreign

language as a learning subject, in this case is English which is become one of the

prominent subjects at school English is taught to students in order to make students will

be accepted quickly in any workplace. Such assumptions, making education in our

country, Indonesia, provides foreign language education -English, which will give

benefits to the development of students, this is because English is the universal

language in the world. So the government launched a bilingual education in schools,

learning is delivered using two languages, Indonesian and English language support.

But unfortunately, since last year the program does not run again in the world of

education in Indonesia, and international standard pilot schools ( RSBI ) abolished .

This happens of course is caused by several factors that can be seen from the

advantages and disadvantages of the implementation of bilingual programs in the

schools in Indonesia. In this paper, the authors will limit the issues on the advantages

and disadvantages of using two languages on learning in school as well as the effect of

its implementation in Indonesia in terms of Indonesian as the national language and

Indonesia as a country that has many local languages .

B. Theory

Bilingual means the ability to communicate in two languages but with the

possibility of greater skills in one language ( Kid Source, 2005 ). In other words,

bilingual as a term in comprehending one of the fourth skills (listening, speaking,

writing, and reading ) even to a minimal degree in their second language. Moore, 1999

also differ bilingual as the improving two crucial skills; recognizing various language

as separate system and keeping it part as necessary; and learning how to choose the

appropriate language for the community.

In Indonesia, bilingual education has been being a trend that is chosen by

schools. Chummins (2000) states that there is a tendency for students who have

bilingual programs obtained better achievements than monolingual program. As we

know, Indonesia is a multilingual society, where Bahasa as the national language and

English as the foreign language. Bilingual education in Indonesia started in 2004 and

gained its popularity for about 8 years establishing 1300 schools categorized as

international standard schools in 2012. But before 2012 come, this program has been

criticized by some parties which argue that this program is only most enjoyed by the

rich rather than the poor.

C. Problems

The problems that will be discussed in this paper are:

1. The advantages and disadvantages of bilingual Education if this program is applied

in Indonesia

2. The failure of the implementation of bilingual education in Indonesia which has

many traditional languages.

D. Discussion

The ability of foreign language skills be a requirement for people in any case.

Nowadays bilingual education is currently a major talking point for parents of students

who want their children to be able to master a foreign language. From the words

Bilingual, it is two languages that is fluent by someone. It means that someone is able

to use two language well. And bilingual education is the use of language in teaching

curriculum, in this case, the teacher use two languages in teaching activity.

Actually, the program of bilingual education in Indonesia may get many issues

that will be categorized as advantages and disadvantages. There are pro and contra in

holding this program. In fact, besides bilingual education itself can help the students to

know the world, but, it also have problems, so that the government decided to stop this

program. So it caused Indonesian language as the national language and as the mother

tongue will be ignored, not only by the schools but also parents. Parents will proud to

their children if they have a better mark for English subject than Indonesian language

subject and also to face the globalization era and AFTA 2015.

Furthermore, when we viewed from the benefits of bilingual education for

students in Indonesia, bilingual program have a good impact for the students, because

there are several objectives to be achieved by the use of bilingual education. The first

goal is, knowledge of foreign language to students will rely well. Second, students will

not be awkward again when later playing the AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) in 2015

which is a form of agreement ASEAN countries to establish a free trade area in order

to improve the economic competitiveness of the ASEAN region as a base to make

ASEAN world production. So that Indonesian young generation must be able to adapt

to these conditions. Obviously in this case students in Indonesia is expected to be able

and proficient in a foreign language, so that communication can be established. From

both of these objectives can be concluded that the foreign language to be learned by

students in Indonesia by following the bilingual education program.

In addition, there are several the advantages of bilingual education for

Indonesian students. First, bilingual program provides limited English students with

both knowledge and literacy to help the learners’ transition into society and transition

into an English class setting. Second, it provides students to receive the content material

in their native languages in order to help them keep up academically and work on their

English proficiency. Third, Bilingual Education program helps a student’s self-esteem

and the ability not hinder their feelings about his or her culture. The students need to

understand the value of their culture and language. It also provides the ability to learn

another culture, other than their own. The last advantage of bilingual education

program is the preparation it gives a child, with no English background, the ability to

obtain a good job and succeed in life ( Castro,Yvette., et all, www.edfn3051/tripod.com

). Holt, Sarah in Imran, Muhammad., 2011 also state the advantages of bilingual

education as first, understanding ideas and concepts in the language one is use to, and

then transfer that knowledge over to the culture’s dominant language. Second, access

to more opportunities in careers where bilingual workers are needed. Third, cultural

awareness where every language is rich in cultural information, from the way it is

spoken to the objects that are represented. Next, bilingual education is a better way to

support communications at home. And the last is, bilingual students can be a useful for

other students.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of this program are the ineffectiveness of

the program. First, the learner are developing a dependency on their native language,

which keeps them from learning and having proficiency in the English Language.

Second, when the teacher gives the lesson in native language, therefore it is hindering
the learners and taking them longer to learn and be proficient in the English language.

Third, the learner are not being prepared to be mainstream into an English classroom.

The last of these disadvantage is the bilingual education program also isolates the

students from the rest of school and segregating them ( Castro,Yvette., et all,

www.edfn3051/tripod.com ). Holt, Sarah in Imran, Muhammad., 2011., also gives the

several disadvantages of bilingual education. First, unsuccessful attempt at integration

into society. Second, school drop-out rates. Third, unavailability of teachers. In this

case, a number of trained teachers who are proficient in both English and their native

language are required. Forth, lack of classrooms. There is a dearth of classrooms that

can accommodate students who require instructions in both English and their native

language. The last, bilingual education is lack of funds. So, bilingual education have

advantages and disadvantages for the implementation at school. Both of them can be

seen if the schools and also the government can attempt them into the positions.

After the discussion above, how schools in Indonesia can follow this program.

We know that since 2012 academic year, the bilingual education program in Indonesia

have stopped because of some reasons. And it means that the government have failed

to do this program. First of all, bilingual education program tends to be trapped in

equipping the infrastructure of schools rather than the development of human resources.

It spends a lot of money to run out the bilingual program in Indonesia, and also this

program is not designed for all classes of certain schools as categorized the pilot of

international standard schools, there are only two classes that belongs to the pilot of

international standard schools. This situation make the students who are not in this

program become jealousy because the students who are in this program is the rich

people. To make all classes follow the bilingual education program is noteasy, it needs

a lot of money, and Indonesia is not able yet to fulfill these all.
The other reasons is about the teacher who teach in bilingual class. Bilingual

class is not only for one subject but also for all subjects that have to be learnt by the

students at school like mathematic, physic, biology, chemistry, history, accounting, and

others. To teach bilingual class that teach by using two languages English and Indonesia

( first language ), a teacher should have several requirements like able to master the

English proficiency, the teacher should have a good communication of course in

English. To have a better teaching in bilingual education, the Goverment have to

prepare the teachers who have the mathematics, science, and other subject background

to master the English proficiency before begin to teach by have a corporate with some

universities to give some workshops for the teachers. This is a good way because all

the instruction in bilingual education are in target language ( English ).

Moreover, bilingual program in Indonesian schools still being a difficult way to

make the learners ( students ) ready to follow this program. We know that, Indonesia

also have the traditional languages that come from each region. That is why Indonesia

therefore said to be a multicultural country. Bilingual education is difficult to apply in

Indonesia due to the multicultural. Indonesia have hundreds of traditional language that

will be influenced their speech. The students easy to use their traditional language to

speak because they always hear their relatives, family and friends communicate each

other, meanwhile, English that they learn at school is a foreign language, and English

is not the language that generally use in their environment. So that, they cannot be

forced to able to master the English. If they master in using English, and also the

students’ parents fell proud of their children, may be the first language and also the

traditional language can be forgotten later. The last reason is, it will cause the different

concepts of understanding the language and it can not clear yet in their speaking and

also in writing also it will be caused the ambiguity.

D. Conclusions

Bilingual education is “schooling in which those not fluent in the standard or

national language are taught in their own language”, it means that teaching the students

by using tow languages first language and target language. Bilingual education program

actually can be applied in Indonesia because later on in 2015, the AFTA (ASEAN Free

Trade Area ) will come and the learner have to prepare themself to face this era.

In Indonesia bilingual education has been trend in 2004, with the expectations

that the Indonesian students can face the global era later on. Because by apllieying the

bilingual education the government hopes that the students will be able to fluent in

English as the foreign language. But, after years this program has not run effectively, it

caused by several reason such as the needs a lot of funds, the qualify teacher for each

subject that have good in English proficiency, there is a jealousy among the students,

and also the bilingual program efect the students’ love of mother tongue. Of course this

program is not effective to be held in Indonesia.

If the government still want to continue bilingual program later, of course there

are many things should be prerpared and notice the advantages alaso disadvantages

first. The government have to fulfil the requirements of bilingual teachers and suitable

with the advantages of bilingual education.

E. References

Hall, Christoper J., Patrick H. Smith, Rachel Wicaksono. 2011. Mapping Applied

Linguistics – Bilingual and Multilingual Education. London: Routledge.

Imran, Muhammad. 2011. Bilingual Education.


Kid Source (2005). “Children and Bilingual.” www.kidsource.com

Syahril, Iwan. 2010. Bilingual Education in Indonesia.