Conference Overview


Dear distinguished speakers and participants,

A number of basic learning problems in schools are often perceived by some policy makers in the past only as symptoms, hence resulting in the partial solutions. Evidences are abundant, for example when the policy makers’ disposition to improve education is often mistakenly imposed by further increasing more rigid rules or higher criteria in education, which eventually burden students and teachers. Such instrumentalist measures invariably render students and teachers to feel even more helpless, which violates the students’ rights to experience true happiness in heuristic learning. However, this situation does not seem to last long. Finally, in early 2020, Indonesia Minister of Education and Culture (MoEC) launches an invigorating program in relation to the deregulation of educational policies for higher education, namely “Merdeka Belajar: Merdeka Kampus” (issued on 24 January 2020). MoEC apparently acknowledges that the problems of education often reside from the politics of unyielding guidelines. It is for this reason that “Merdeka Belajar” policy is enacted.  Responding to the Minister of Education new policy, Priyatma (Kompas, 06/02/2020) strongly confirms in his article, entitled “Kemerdekaan Berpikir” (Freedom of thinking), that students must have the capacity to think more autonomously by pruning all the shackles of formalism and too administrative-orientation in education. The ultimate goal of this policy is undoubtedly to shift the old paradigm of education by stern rules into more autonomous and innovative learning by allowing more spaces for freedom of thinking. Although there is still a bit of confusion in its implementation, many comments positively support the government policies that are perceived to be truly student-oriented. 

“Merdeka Belajar: Kampus Merdeka” national policy, subsequently derived as the freedom of learning, is suggested by APSPBI WhatsApp Group members as the main topic in the 6th APSPBI Conference. This theme was preferred for at least three fundamental reasons:

  1. The MoEC policy needs full support in practice by all education stakeholders;
  2. Freedom of learning policy can be an appropriate solution which is based on strong roots in the basic theories of education, for example Ki Hajar Dewantara learning principles (Tut Wuri Handayani) and the principles of Montessori (provision of choices in learning);
  3. Freedom of learning can arguably transform students to be more autonomous learners, characterized by their capacity to think independently and the freedom to make meanings of their own learning experiences.

As yet, when it comes to the curriculum in the English education study program, our challenges as lecturers are to address at least the following three questions: what are the theoretical and practical underpinnings for the freedom of learning? What factors can reliably support the implementation? What kind of authentic evidences should be used to measure the freedom of learning? All these questions shall bear rich and valuable discussion in the 6th APSPBI Conference at Muhammadiyah University, North Sumatera (UMSU), on 24-25 September 2020. All the worthy contributions of insights and works from the UMSU Committees, English education lecturers and students, and all participants in this conference are greatly appreciated.

Paulus Kuswandono, Ph.D.

(Chair of APSPBI)


Teachers’ use of more controlling instructional approaches with their students are nearly abandoned in teaching learning activities. The move toward more choices and autonomy for teachers and students which contribute to the higher levels of students’ motivation, engagement, task performance and learning in schools are actively advocated by scholars, policymakers, and practitioners. In response to this trend, the new Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim, announced his educational policy program called “Freedom of Learning” which is to liberate education institutions and to encourage children to be creative and innovative, and promote critical thinking. Consequently, the curricular and instructional practices should be developed to offer greater choice in the classroom and are responsive to students’ unique interests, needs, and abilities. These approaches carefully concern the students’ diverse needs, abilities, unique characteristics as well as learner centered instruction. Hence, this International Conference on English Teaching Education and Linguistics is held to open the the room for sharing and disseminating the freedom of learning’s true concepts, practices in English Foreign Language.

This conference will be a joint effort of Asosiasi Program Study Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris (APSPBI) and University of Muhammadiyah Sumatera Utara. The conference is scheduled from October 22-24, 2020. Participants involved are local and international English practitioners including teachers and lecturers as well as English students.


Day 3 (Saturday, September 26th, 2020)

City Tour (Some options available – please check our website)