As one of six INOVASI partner districts in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, North Lombok has faced an uphill battle since the district was severely affected by a 6.9 earthquake in early August.
Since partnering with North Lombok in mid-2016, INOVASI pilots initially focused on early grade literacy and teacher training and capacity building, a local government district priority.
When the earthquake struck, local communities, schools and teachers were affected, and teaching and learning was disrupted temporarily. Subsequent aftershocks caused further damage to government buildings, schools, and community morale. The aftershocks continued for weeks, and were felt by students and teachers alike. All 21 of INOVASI’s partner schools were damaged, leading to a visible need for temporary classrooms and shelter, and strategies to enable a return to learning.
In the spirit of finding local solutions to local issues in education, INOVASI began to rapidly work with local stakeholders to devise new strategies for improving educational quality in the after-math of the earthquake. This includes psycho-social counselling, partnering with a local organisation called ABKIN (Indonesian Guidance and Counselling Association). In addition, INOVASI led a rapid assessment of partner schools (school building data collection) and will continue to support the construction of Bamboo Schools, while damaged school buildings are repaired in the coming months. This re-designed pilot commenced in September.
In early October, INOVASI and ABKIN conducted training for INOVASI partner teachers so that they felt better prepared to teach in post-earthquake classes. Specific teaching modules were jointly developed by both INOVASI and ABKIN, with the intent that these will help teachers help their students to become more adaptable.
“In my opinion psychoeducation is an important thing for all of us, North Lombok residents. Especially for children who are still in primary school, including parents of students. Because I hear a lot of parents who forbid their children to go to school because they are worried that there will be another earthquake,” said Head of North Lombok Education Office, Dr. Fauzan.
In late October, a meeting for local facilitators was held in North Lombok, to further discuss the modules. On this occasion, representatives from the North Lombok Education Office and various school supervisors were present. The purpose of the meeting was to determine what obstacles local facilitators were facing when working and supporting teachers.
“This event is a platform for us to evaluate and reflect on the mentoring activities that you have done. You can share your experiences when you were accompanying teachers at school. If you experience problems, we will find a solution together,” said Sugeng Prayoga, a representative from ABKIN, speaking directly to the teachers.
During the workshop, participants were divided into several groups of 6-7 people. Each group then discussed and explored key constraints experienced by local facilitators, and possible solutions. A nominated group representative then reported back to the larger group.
One identified challenge was that teachers did not think about how the module could be taught in the local teaching and learning context of their own classroom.
“Teachers are too fixated on what they got at the training. They are fixated on the module. Teachers did not develop what they can and adapt. So, when the teacher has to then teach with different material or different subjects, they will find it difficult to apply this psychoeducation,” explained Taufik Agustanto, one of the school supervisors. Iteration and adaptation is key, and this requires a more flexible mindset.
After discussing the mentoring process and conducting further evaluation of the approach, local facilitators were able to evolve the mentoring process further, drawing on lessons learnt. Through a process of continual adjustment and improvement, local facilitators can provide the best possible support to teachers as they navigate this post-earthquake environment in North Lombok.