Students throughout Indonesia have complained about a lack of engagement from their teachers after classes were forced to migrate online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a recent survey by the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has found.

The survey was conducted from April 13-21 and involved 1,700 students and 602 teachers in 54 cities and regencies.

It said 79 per cent of student respondents reported little to no interaction with their teachers in virtual classrooms, saying their instructors used digital communication platforms only to assign homework.

About 77 per cent of the students polled said their teachers had assigned them more homework than usual with unreasonably tight deadlines, resulting in learning fatigue.

About 76 per cent of the student respondents said they were not enthusiastic about online learning.

“In remote learning, teachers have only focused on providing cognitive education and have overlooked affective aspects related to character-building,” KPAI commissioner Retno Listyarti said in a statement on Saturday.

She said many teachers failed to accommodate students who were unable to afford the electronics or reliable internet connections that were essential for remote learning.

“About 42 per cent of students said they [could not afford] internet packages, making it difficult for them to make video calls,” Retno said, adding that the current learning methods effectively discriminated against students from low-income households.

The KPAI called on the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Religious Affairs to formulate an “emergency curriculum” to improve education during the ongoing public health crisis.

The organisation said the emergency curriculum should consist only of core lessons and should do away with complex subjects that required direct assistance from teachers.

“An emergency curriculum is needed so that students won’t fall victim to ambitious education policies that neglect their rights,” said Retno.