Ndobos Night, TOEIC in Pandemic
It all started with the announcement of the SMK Directorate regarding SMK English Challenge 2020 Program: Facilitating International English Language Proficiency Certification with TOEIC for Vocational School Students. The announcement explained various things related to TOEIC aid from the SMK Directorate. The target of the program is all vocational students in Indonesia for XI and XII grade for 3-year SMK and XI, XII and XIII for 4-year SMK in the 2020/2021 academic year. The TOEIC aid quota in 2020 has increased from previous years. In 2018 and 2019 there were only 22,000 SMK students, in 2020 has increased to 75,000 SMK students. So that every SMK has a great opportunity to get TOEIC aid.
The mechanism for obtaining TOEIC aid from the SMK Directorate is as follows:
1. SMK register their schools online at the registration link provided
2. SMK registers all XI and XII (and XIII) grade students who will be included in the registration link provided
3. Download and install a selection program for potential beneficiaries, namely the VIERA program. The download link is provided via email after registering online
4. The VIERA selection exam is available in two choices, namely CBT (UBK standard) which is carried out in schools, and smartphone application for VIERA selection which is carried out at each student's home. Each school can only choose one of the selection test mode options.
5. Running the VIERA selection on a predetermined exam schedule range
6. Running the TOEIC test for students who pass the selection in the specified exam schedule range
7. Providing infrastructure for implementing computer-based examinations along with technical personnel to support the implementation of the selection and TOEIC examinations
In the case of the selection exam with VIERA, SMKN 1 Sragi Pekalongan chose the smartphone application mode because it considers the number of registered participants, the time needed for the selection process using only 2 labs and the current pandemic conditions. SMKN 1 Sragi Pekalongan enrolled all students in class XI and XII, totalling 1,056 students. Of the total 1,056 students enrolled, only 892 took the VIERA selection test. But this number reflects the success of the 2020 SMK English Challenge team at our SMK. Despite our team coordinates students remotely.
The core team of SMK English Challenge 2020 in our SMK consists of 6 English teachers, 2 technicians, 1 vice principal of curriculum, 1 school principal. Fully supported by 5 head of competence, 7 counselling guidance teachers, 29 homeroom teachers. With teamwork, this allows our school to organize, facilitate and motivate 84% of the total number of students registered to take the selection test.
The obstacles faced by our school in implementing VIERA from home are as follows:
1. Some of their cellphones are still android version below 5.0 so they have difficulty downloading the VIERA program
2. Some are constrained by quotas and signals because not all students live in the signal coverage area
3. Cellphone memory is full
4. Cellphone antivirus settings that are too strict so that it doesn't allow installing applications from unknown sources
5. Forgot to write down the attendance code
6. Some students are difficult to contact
The things that the English teachers do to make the VIERA selection test successful include:
1. Make this selection test as if it were part of an English subject assignment by providing announcements and detailed explanations for downloading and installing in the class WhatsApp group
2. Some make it an English subject assignment in Google Classroom, followed by a detailed explanation of what needs to be prepared, what needs to be done and what needs to be collected as well as a deadline for collecting assignments related to the Android version of the VIERA guide.
3. There is also a simple tutorial to download and install the VIERA application
4. Record the attendance code that appears after students carry out the VIERA selection test. This needs to be done because sometimes students do not directly input the attendance code. The attendance code input is very important because it serves as evidence that the student has run the selection test.
5. Input some attendance codes for students that have confirmed the selection test, but on the teacher's portal the student's selection status is “Belum”
6. Motivating students who have not participated in the VIERA selection according to the specified schedule, and informing them that they can carry out the follow-up selection test until the deadline is August 31, 2020.
Taking into account the number of aid quota and enthusiasm of SMK in Indonesia, the deadline for registration and selection is extended to September 30, 2020. This extension accommodates participants who have registered but have not carried out the selection test and for SMKs wishing to increase the number of participants. Regarding the extension of time, our SMK decided to add participants from class X for the trial. So that X grade students have experience in facing this VIERA selection test. However, we only sample 2 classes, which in the future these 2 classes are expected to share their knowledge or experience with other classes who did not have the opportunity to try this selection.
What is meant by TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is a test that measures English proficiency for those whose daily language is not English. The TOEIC test measures the English language skills of individuals who are studying or working in a global environment. The TOEIC score shows how well a person can communicate using English in the world of education, business, trade and industry. This test does not require special knowledge or terms other than everyday English.
TOEIC objectively and accurately measures a person's ability to communicate in English. This test is designed based on the daily conditions that each person is experiencing. So that this test is very easy to understand and the benefits are felt immediately because it is directly related to the daily life experienced by everyone in their environment.
Some of the benefits of joining the TOEIC aid program, namely:
1. The TOEIC certificate is internationally recognized and is very useful for use by SMK graduates in competing in the world of work
2. Each vocational school will obtain data on students' English proficiency testing, both the VIERA test results and the TOEIC certification exam
3. The TOEIC examination result data can be used by the Directorate of Vocational Schools and the education authorities in the recruitment process for scholarship programs, student exchanges abroad and other international programs
The 2020 TOEIC test is carried out through 2 routes, namely the general route and the special route. The special pathway is for students with a passing selection status Lolos - langsung TOEIC with advanced and intermediate 3 levels. While the general pathway is for those whose selection status Lolos - Pembelajaran & TOEIC with intermediate levels 1 and 2, both those who pass stage 1 and those who pass the screening stage 2.
There are only 18 students for the special pathway from our vocational school who take the test on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. The TOEIC exam is held in schools by implementing the Covid-19 safety protocol enforced by the government.
Our SMK has also carried out the general pathway TOEIC test phase 1 which should have been followed by 169 students who passed stage 1 learning. However, for one reason or another, 23 students were unable to attend. Hopefully, these 23 students can take the TOEIC exam that passes the second stage of learning.
The reason why we continue to participate in the TOEIC aid program even in the midst of this difficult pandemic is that we do not want to waste the opportunities given and because our SMK sees the importance of TOEIC certification. Because the function of the TOEIC test is to measure the English language skills of individuals who are studying or working in a global environment. Remember, what needs to be underlined here is studying or working in a global environment. The global environment does not only have to go abroad. Do not think too far, we only discuss things that are close to our daily life or environment. We take the example of the PLTU construction in Batang, Central Java, the work was done by JEL (Jurong Engineering Limited) company from Singapore. So to work "next door", we have to apply to foreign companies, which of course require English proficiency as one of the requirements for labour recruitment. Is it true that English is one of the requirements for recruitment? Yes, if you wish to occupy a more position then the job interview will be in English.
Why is TOEIC certification necessary? Because any competence, including English competency, will not be recognized in the world of work without a certificate explaining it. Therefore, we need to hold an English certification. Why TOEIC? Because TOEIC accepted and trusted by 14,000+ organizations in more than 160 countries.
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