East Java: INOVASI Steering Committee Meeting

Improving the quality of education and learning in East Java

Surabaya, 4 December 2019 – today’s Steering Committee meeting for the Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program in East Java was held at the Bina Loka Building, East Java Provincial Government Office. Meeting discussions focused on INOVASI’s program implementation, results and impact in 2019. Since 2018, INOVASI has implemented a range of pilot programs across five partner districts in East Java, as part of efforts to strengthen the quality of learning for early grade students. Pilot themes have focused on literacy, numeracy, multi-grade teaching and learning, school leadership and inclusive education.

To improve the quality of student learning in basic education in East Java, it is important to innovate teaching and learning. With teaching innovation, learning outcomes in basic literacy and numeracy can be strengthened – particularly for those students below the national average. The East Java Provincial Government, working with the Ministry of Education and Culture, continues to support the INOVASI program in five partner districts in East Java, including Sumenep, Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, Probolinggo and Batu City. INOVASI is a partnership program between the governments of Australia and Indonesia and works to find what does and does not work to improve teaching and learning quality. To date in East Java, the INOVASI program has produced a number of promising changes and practices, at the school and district level.

At today’s Steering Committee meeting, discussions were opened and led by the East Java Governor. The meeting was attended by a range of education stakeholders, including the Head of the East Java Provincial Education Office, the Head of the East Java Provincial Bappeda, the Head of the Provincial Ministry of Religious Affairs, and representatives from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the INOVASI program. District leaders were also present from 10 East Java districts, including INOVASI’s five partner districts. National government attendees included Moch. Abduh, Head of the Center for Educational Assessment, Balitbang, Ministry of Education and Culture; and Prof. Dr. Suyitno, Director of Teachers and Education Personnel for Madrasah, Directorate General of Islamic Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs.

INOVASI’s grant partners in East Java were also invited to attend the meeting, including: Surabaya State University (UNESA), Sunan Ampel State Islamic University Surabaya (UINSA), Nahdatul Ulama University Surabaya (UNUSA), Bina Nusantara University Jakarta (BINUS), the Literacy Collaboration (Kolaborasi Literasi Bermakna), Ma’arif NU and Muhammadiyah.

Said INOVASI’s Program Director Mark Heyward, “in 2019, various INOVASI pilot programs have been (and still are being) implemented in East Java, including those implemented by various NGOs, Islamic organizations, and partner LPTKs. These programs focus on key education issues, including early grade literacy, numeracy, leadership, multi-grade learning, and inclusive education. These are all priorities that our partner districts wish to address. It is important for us to collaborate to achieve common goals. We have also seen positive changes as a result of the pilots, including improvements in the knowledge and teaching skills of teachers in INOVASI partner schools.”

INOVASI continues to strengthen and accelerate education quality and learning outcomes in East Java, with support from national, provincial and district level stakeholders. Government support continues to be crucial, as INOVASI activities are supported by local district government budgets and replicated in new areas. Program sustainability was a key theme at today’s Steering Committee meeting, including the dissemination of promising education practices from the INOVASI program to other schools, districts and local teacher working groups (KKG).

“The first phase of the INOVASI program in East Java has been ongoing since 2018. There have been many achievements in the fields of literacy, numeracy, leadership, multi-grade learning, and inclusive education. Some of these activities and achievements have been followed up independently by the district and provincial governments. Through today’s meeting, the strategic meaning to be achieved is the importance of efforts to improve coordination and synchronization between districts and provinces in order to realize educational equality for all students in East Java,” said Silvana Erlina, INOVASI’s Provincial Manager in East Java.

About INOVASI

INOVASI (INOVASI for Indonesian School Children) is an Indonesian and Australian Government education partnership program that aims to find and understand ways to improve student learning outcomes – especially those related to literacy and numeracy skills, both in class and at school. Working with the Ministry of Education and Culture, INOVASI has established partnerships with 17 districts spread across four provinces, including West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java. The program will run from 2016 – 2020 and is managed by Palladium on behalf of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In East Java, INOVASI partners with five districts/cities, including Batu City, Sumenep, Sidoarjo, Probolinggo and Pasuruan.

For more information, please contact the INOVASI Communications Team, or visit our website, Facebook, and Youtube at the following links: www.inovasi.or.id, Facebook Inovasi untuk Anak Sekolah Indonesia, and YouTube INOVASI Pendidikan.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Dian Kusuma Dewi

Communication Officer Program INOVASI Jatim

Phone 08111502034, email: dian.dewi@thepalladiumgroup.com

 

 Stephanie Carter

Communications Manager, INOVASI

Phone 0811 870 7970, email: stephanie.carter@thepalladiumgroup.com

 

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National Teachers’ Day 2019: what works to improve learning quality and student learning outcomes

INOVASI releases pilot endline data from partner provinces NTB, NTT, North Kalimantan and East Java

Jakarta, 25 November 2019 – Education quality improvement and the strengthening of Indonesia’s human resources is a key priority for President Joko Widodo’s government in the next five years. The national government’s focus on improving literacy has created momentum for reading cultures in communities and schools. However, major gaps are still evident. Indonesia lags behind its counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on basic literacy and is thus behind in national and international benchmarking tests (PISA, 2015[1]; PIRLS, 2011[2]).

Being literate is not just about an ability to read words. Other foundational skills include the ability to also analyse, synthesise, interpret and comprehend reading themes and text.  With these abilities, Indonesian children can grow into adults with ‘HOTS’, or higher order thinking skills – able to conduct strategic reasoning, problem solving and critical thinking. These are core skills for the 21st century.

Simply put, if children do not develop strong basic literacy and numeracy skills in the early grades, they will find it difficult in the workplace later in life. Children who fail to grasp basic literacy skills will lag behind their peers in all areas of learning, with learning inequality widening over time. Teaching quality is also a significant issue for student achievement.

The Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program, an Australia – Indonesia government partnership, is seeking to understand what does and doesn’t work to improve student learning outcomes in 4 partner provinces and 17 districts across Indonesia.  Between September 2018 – July 2019, a total of 54 pilots were implemented across INOVASI’s four partner provinces: NTB, NTT, North Kalimantan and East Java. These interventions addressed a range of themes, including early grade literacy, school leadership, multi-grade schooling, mother language transition in the classroom, and inclusive education and community engagement.

INOVASI has learnt that with the right pedagogical training and knowledge, student literacy learning outcomes and teaching competencies can improve. INOVASI endline data from pilots that finished in July 2019 in partner provinces West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), East Java and North Kalimantan, showed notable improvements in student learning and teaching.

As pilots now come to an end, evidence from across INOVASI’s partner districts paint a picture of learning outcome quality and improvement:

  • At the sub-national level, INOVASI’s work in 17 partner districts and cities identified three main problems contributing to students’ poor performance and weak literacy levels: (1) the lack of a curriculum or methodology for teachers to teach reading in the early grades as it is falsely assumed that all children entering grade one are already able to read; (2) the lack of teaching knowledge and skills in how to teach reading and literacy; and (3) the limited access to appropriate reading material, especially in remote areas but also across the country in general. There is not enough engaging and age-appropriate children’s literature available in the country.

 

  • With the right pedagogical training and knowledge, teaching and students’ literacy ability improved in kind. This was seen in all INOVASI partner provinces. As a result of the pilot training, teachers applied new knowledge and techniques in the classroom to improve early grade literacy. This included the use of ‘Big Books’ for classroom group reading, and better teaching of phonological awareness so that students can better read and understand words and sentences. Endline data found that key areas of teaching improvement were: (1) the teacher now uses effective learning media to engage students; (2) the teacher uses a more engaging student centered teaching approach; (3) classes now have a reading corner; and (4) the class displays learning media such as teaching aids, posters, maps and other learning resources that increase student exposure to reading and words. Combined, these factors contribute to improved literacy learning outcomes.

 

  • In all four INOVASI partner provinces, there was an increase in the percentage of students who passed the basic literacy test (a score out of 100): 150% increase in NTT (increase of 33 points), 64% increase in North Kalimantan (increase of 33 points), 33% increase in NTB (increase of 20 points), and 15% increase in East Java (increase of 12 points).

 

  • There were also improvements in student scores in reading comprehension, which are directly linked to HOTS. Reading comprehension scores increased across all four INOVASI provinces: by 25.3 points in NTT, 16.9 points in North Kalimantan, 17.1 points in NTB, and 5.6 points in East Java.

 

Reading comprehension skills can still be strengthened for all provinces. Evidently, while basic improvements have been made, future efforts to strengthen education quality should go beyond improving basic literacy. They should strive to give teachers better teaching methodologies and children better access to appropriate books, focusing on comprehension and HOTS.

In Bulungan, where the INOVASI intervention was expanded and supported by other stakeholders including working with private sector, mentoring, book supplies, digital books and village libraries, basic literacy test results show that this collaboration fostered significant increases in learning outcomes. In Bulungan district alone, the percentage of students who passed the basic literacy test increased from 57% to 94%, exceeding the average score of all other INOVASI partner districts and provinces.

INOVASI has submitted several recommendations for education improvement and literacy strengthening at the national and regional levels.

National recommendations include:

  1. Develop guidebooks regarding the primary school training curriculum (both PGSD, S-1 and PPG), to establish a systematic methodology for teaching reading and supporting literacy in primary schools.
  2. Increase teacher capacity by better using teacher working groups (KKG) for continuing professional development (for both literacy and numeracy).
  3. Review early grade textbooks and teachers’ guides to ensure that children are taught to read in a systematic way, and that teachers encourage a reading culture through daily literacy activities in the classroom.
  4. Expand the list of students’ reading books to make more reading material accessible to communities, schools and local government by involving the district government in evaluating the need for books and ensuring their availability, in line with the local context

Sub-national recommendations include:

Develop guidebooks regarding the primary school training curriculum (both PGSD, S-1 and PPG), to establish a systematic methodology

  1. District and city governments could commit to routinely assessing and reporting on early grade children’s reading ability to inform parents and district offices on progress.
  2. District and city governments could also run literacy programs for students in all primary schools and to ensure they run continuously, they could provide an ongoing budget for students in regular primary schools and madrasahs.
  3. There are a number of excellent non-government agencies producing excellent early-grades reading material and children’s literature in Indonesia. This includes traditional and digital books. Local governments can partner with these agencies to provide training and books and help establish good school and community libraries and community reading centres (taman baca masyarakat). Village funds (ADD) can also be used for village libraries and community reading centres.

Happy National Teachers’ Day! May teachers continue to advance Indonesia.

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 About INOVASI

 INOVASI (INOVASI for Indonesian School Children) is an Indonesian and Australian Government education partnership program that aims to find and understand ways to improve student learning outcomes – especially those related to literacy and numeracy skills, both in class and at school. Working with the Ministry of Education and Culture, INOVASI has established partnerships with 17 districts spread across four provinces, including West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java. The program will run from 2016 – 2020 and is managed by Palladium on behalf of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

For more information, please contact the INOVASI Communications Team, or visit our website, Facebook, and Youtube at the following links: www.inovasi.or.id, Facebook Inovasi untuk Anak Sekolah Indonesia, and YouTube INOVASI Pendidikan.

For more information, please contact:

 

Stephanie Carter

Communications Manager

INOVASI

stephanie.carter@thepalladiumgroup.com

+62 811 870 7970

Annisaa Rachmawati

Communications Specialist

INOVASI

annisaa.rachmawati@thepalladiumgroup.com

+62 811 8855 184

 

[1] https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisa-2015-results-in-focus.pdf

[2] https://timssandpirls.bc.edu/pirls2011/international-results-pirls.html

 

INOVASI and Ma’arif NU conduct joint monitoring of education activities in Sidoarjo and Pasuruan, East Java

Sidoarjo and Pasuruan, 19 November 2019 – Over the past two days, representatives from the Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program, Ma’arif NU and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta travelled to partner schools in Sidoarjo and Pasuruan to observe progress and learn from teacher experiences.

Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI), a program partnership between the governments of Australia and Indonesia, first signed a partnership with prominent Islamic association Ma’arif NU in late 2018. This agreement represents an exciting opportunity to broaden and sustain activities that strengthen educational quality and improve student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy – particularly in the early grades.

In early 2019, Ma’arif NU received grant funding support from INOVASI to implement a range of education pilots in East Java. Grant activities were launched on May 25, 2019 in Surabaya, East Java.

Through its grant pilots, Ma’arif NU is implementing ways to improve early grade literacy and numeracy outcomes in 30 partner Islamic schools (madrasah) across Sidoarjo, Pasuruan and Sumenep districts. Working with students, teachers, principals and school committees, the pilots seek to improve a range of issues, including how teachers understand literacy and numeracy learning in the early grades, their skills in managing the classroom, and student literacy learning outcomes.  The pilot is also finding ways to build a stronger reading culture in target districts.

After a year of implementation, there have been positive results and emerging progress in Ma’arif NU partner schools across the three districts. Numerous promising practices have been captured.

“The partnership between INOVASI and Ma’arif NU is a very important effort to improve the quality of learning in Indonesia,” said Kyai Zaenal Arifin Junaedi, Head of Maarif NU.

“This partnership between INOVASI and Ma’arif NU is a great opportunity to improve the quality of Islamic education in East Java, especially in Ma’arif NU schools. After a year of implementation, we have begun to see positive results and progress in partner Ma’arif NU madrasah, across all three districts. Several promising education practices have been developed, which we have been fortunate to observe during this monitoring visit,” said Michelle Lowe, Counsellor for Human Development from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

About INOVASI

 INOVASI (INOVASI for Indonesian School Children) is an Indonesian and Australian Government education partnership program that aims to find and understand ways to improve student learning outcomes – especially those related to literacy and numeracy skills, both in class and at school. Working with the Ministry of Education and Culture, INOVASI has established partnerships with 17 districts spread across four provinces, including West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java. The program will run from 2016 – 2020 and is managed by Palladium on behalf of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

For more information, please contact the INOVASI Communications Team, or visit our website, Facebook, and Youtube at the following links: www.inovasi.or.id, Facebook Inovasi untuk Anak Sekolah Indonesia, and YouTube INOVASI Pendidikan.

About Ma’arif NU

Ma’arif NU is one of the largest and most prominent Islamic associations in Indonesia, managing a large number of primary schools under the Ministry of Religious Affairs. With a significant presence in the education sector, Ma’arif NU works to promote local culture and religious tolerance throughout Indonesia.

For more information, please contact:

 

Dian Kusuma Dewi

INOVASI Provincial Communications Officer, East Java

Phone 08111502034, email: dian.dewi@thepalladiumgroup.com

 

Stephanie Carter

INOVASI Communications Manager

Phone 0811 870 7970, email: stephanie.carter@thepalladiumgroup.com

 

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Australian Embassy representative visits earthquake affected North Lombok school SDN 2 Malaka

North Lombok, 12 November 2019 – On Tuesday 12th November, Australian Embassy representative Kirsten Bishop, met with local teachers, community members and government representatives at the SDN 2 Malaka primary school in Pemenang sub-district, North Lombok. SDN 2 Malaka is a partner school with the Australian Government supported Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program and was affected by the 2018 August Lombok earthquake. She was accompanied by Kurniawan Ariadi, Director of Bilateral Financing, from Indonesia’s National Planning and Development Ministry (Bappenas).

During today’s school visit, Kirsten Bishop met with school teachers and stakeholders, discussing their experiences participating in INOVASI’s literacy pilot, and learning about the kinds of support they received during the ongoing earthquake recovery.

In North Lombok, prior to the events of the August 2018 Lombok earthquake, INOVASI was preparing to implement a foundational literacy pilot focused on early grades (grades one to three). Due to the damage sustained from the earthquake to partner schools, teachers and communities, the pilot underwent a change in direction. All 21 of INOVASI’s partner schools were damaged, 16 beyond repair.

When the initial early grade literacy pilot was temporarily stopped post earthquake, INOVASI looked for ways to help build schools so that children could immediately return to school. Bamboo was chosen as the primary material because it was considered safer than steel frames – and could be locally sourced. The bamboo school was intended to make children more comfortable when learning, ensuring they felt safe from any future earthquakes. INOVASI supported the construction of bamboo schools in 12 partner schools and communities.

Now, more than one year on since the earthquake, SDN 2 Malaka is preparing to move back into their newly constructed school buildings, rebuilt with support from the Kompas Humanitarian Fund Foundation.

“In the post-earthquake environment in North Lombok, INOVASI played a key role in helping students return to learning – including through the construction of Bamboo schools and safe learning spaces. Together with the local community, we can continue to strengthen literacy learning outcomes in NTB classrooms,” said Kirsten Bishop.

INOVASI’s Program Director, Mark Heyward, expressed his appreciation for the ongoing support of district stakeholders. “Since 2017, INOVASI has been working with North Lombok to improve the quality of basic education. We are grateful for the ongoing cooperation and support from the North Lombok district government, particularly after the Lombok earthquake when teaching and learning was disrupted temporarily. Together, we have helped to continue improving education.”

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For more information, please contact the INOVASI Communications Team, or visit our website, Facebook, and Youtube at the following links: www.inovasi.or.id, Facebook Inovasi untuk Anak Sekolah Indonesia, and YouTube INOVASI Pendidikan.

 

 Juliarti Sianturi

Communications Officer (Pulau Lombok)

E: juliarti.sianturi@thepalladiumgroup.com

M: +62 811 9885 694

 Junaedi Uko

Communications Officer (Pulau Sumbawa)

E: junaedi.uko@thepalladiumgroup.com

M: +62 811 3816 348

 

 

  

About INOVASI

 INOVASI (Innovation for Indonesian School Children) is an Indonesian and Australian Government education partnership program that aims to find and understand ways to improve student learning outcomes – especially those related to literacy and numeracy skills, both in class and at school. Working with the Ministry of Education and Culture and Ministry of Religious Affairs, INOVASI has established partnerships with 17 districts spread across four provinces, including West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java. The program will run from 2016 – 2020 and is managed by Palladium on behalf of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

In West Nusa Tenggara Province (NTB), INOVASI is partnering with six districts namely North Lombok, Central Lombok, West Sumbawa, Sumbawa, Dompu and Bima. The launch of INOVASI in NTB Province was carried out on June 8, 2016 through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NTB Provincial Government (the then Governor of NTB, Dr. TGB Zainul Majdi), with the Ministry of Education and Culture, represented by the Head of the Research and Development Agency (Balitbang), Totok Suprayitno. The NTB Provincial Government’s commitment was further strengthened through the signing of an MoU on October 11, 2016 with each partner district government. Various pilot programs have been implemented in the six partner district, each aiming to strengthen education quality and learning outcomes.

INOVASI pilot programs in NTB focus on a range of priority issues, including literacy, numeracy, inclusive education, mother language transition and community engagement. During the period January 2017 to June 2018, there were 387 partner schools (public and Islamic schools) across the six partner districts, with 1,158 pilot program participants consisting of teachers and principals and 272 program facilitators (Fasda).

 

 

 

 

 

 

INOVASI and Muhammadiyah conduct joint monitoring of education activities in Sidoarjo, East Java

Sidoarjo, 19 October 2019 – Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI), a program partnership between the governments of Australia and Indonesia, first signed a partnership with prominent Islamic association Muhammadiyah in late 2018. This agreement represents an exciting opportunity to broaden and sustain activities that strengthen educational quality and improve student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy – particularly in the early grades.

In early 2019, Muhammadiyah received grant funding support from INOVASI to implement a range of education pilots in East Java. Grant activities were launched on May 3, 2019 in Surabaya, East Java.

Through its grant pilots, Muhammadiyah is implementing ways to improve early grade literacy outcomes in 14 partner schools across Sidoarjo, Ngawi, Trenggalek and Jember districts. Working with students, teachers, principals and school committees, the pilots seek to improve a range of issues, including how teachers understand literacy and learning in the early grades, their skills in managing the classroom, and student literacy learning outcomes.  They also aim to strengthen parental and school principal support for teaching and learning, including the provision of effective learning tools and materials.

This weekend’s monitoring visit saw representatives from INOVASI, Muhammadiyah and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta travel to partner schools in Sidoarjo to observe progress and learn from teacher experiences.

After a year of implementation, there have been positive results and emerging progress in Muhammadiyah partner schools across the four districts. Numerous promising practices have been captured.

First grade teacher Istia Ningrum at MI Muhammadiyah Penatarsewu Islamic school is pleased to participate in the INOVASI – Muhammadiyah pilot in Sidoarjo. According to Istia, training has been highly useful.  “I used to teach students to read manually, only asking them to name letters and spell letters from books. The big books bring a variation in strategies to introduce students to letters and words. Moreover, the book is quite interesting and filled with colourful pictures. This makes students more interested in learning and learn to read faster while understanding the words introduced in the big book.”

The Australian Embassy Jakarta believes the cooperation between INOVASI and Muhammadiyah is vital and views the partnership as a great opportunity to improve the quality of Islamic education in East Java, and especially in Muhamamdiyah schools.

Abdul Mu’thi, Executive Secretary General of Muhammadiyah, explained that “the partnership between INOVASI and Muhammadiyah is a very important effort to improve the quality of learning in Indonesia.”

About INOVASI

 INOVASI (INOVASI for Indonesian School Children) is an Indonesian and Australian Government education partnership program that aims to find and understand ways to improve student learning outcomes – especially those related to literacy and numeracy skills, both in class and at school. Working with the Ministry of Education and Culture, INOVASI has established partnerships with 17 districts spread across four provinces, including West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java. The program will run from 2016 – 2020 and is managed by Palladium on behalf of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

For more information, please contact the INOVASI Communications Team, or visit our website, Facebook, and Youtube at the following links: www.inovasi.or.id, Facebook Inovasi untuk Anak Sekolah Indonesia, and YouTube INOVASI Pendidikan.

About Muhammadiyah

Muhammadiyah is one of the largest and most prominent Islamic associations in Indonesia, managing a large number of primary schools under the Ministry of Education and Culture. With a significant presence in the education sector, Muhammadiyah works to promote local culture and religious tolerance throughout Indonesia.

INOVASI joins the 4th Islamic Schooling Conferences and Forum in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, 14 July 2019 – Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI), a partnership program between the governments of Australia and Indonesia, this weekend participated in the 4th Islamic Schooling Conferences and Forum AAISC 2019, held in Melbourne, Australia.

In their panel presentation, INOVASI’s Program Director Dr. Mark Heyward, along with Dr. Bahrul Hayat, Education Specialist for the Australian Government supported Technical Assistance for Education Systems Strengthening (TASS) program in Indonesia, and Education Pathways for Peace (PATHWAYS) program in the Philippines, provided an overview of the Islamic schooling system, its challenges and opportunities.

Over seven million Indonesian children attend Islamic schools in one of the largest Islamic education systems in the world. While these schools are well integrated into the national education system, they typically serve poor communities, they are generally under-resourced, and they produce lower results in national tests than regular schools.

Social justice is an issue not only at the system level, but at the school level in Indonesia. Many children do not attend school due to disability. Many do not perform as well as their peers due to poverty or isolation. Many also begin school unfamiliar with Bahasa Indonesia, the language of instruction. These children are at risk of falling behind and dropping out of school. INOVASI’s work focuses on literacy, numeracy and inclusion. The program is piloting new approaches to identifying and supporting children with disability, to inclusive education, and to language transition for children in remote regions.

INOVASI aims to ‘find out what works’ to improve learning outcomes for Indonesian children,” Dr. Mark Heyward, INOVASI’s Program Director, said. “Together with the TASS program, we work together with the Ministry of Religious Affairs to improve the quality of Islamic schooling, through the development and piloting of a new approach to continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. The aim is to lift the quality of education in madrasah, closing the performance gap between the Islamic and regular school systems.”

Dr. Bahrul Hayat, also a former Secretary General to Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, spoke of the work done by the PATHWAYS program to assist the government to develop a similar approach to Islamic education in the Philippines.

“PATHWAYS contributes to peace-building by addressing inequity and disparity in participation and performance in basic education. The program supports improvements in the participation and performance of children in early grade levels, in teacher education and development, and in the development of a context-appropriate curriculum.”

The INOVASI, TASS and Pathways programs are managed by Palladium – a positive impact firm.

INOVASI and Ma’arif NU launch new education pilot to strengthen basic education in East Java

Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI), a partnership program between the Governments of Australia and Indonesia, is collaborating with prominent Islamic association Ma’arif Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in East Java. Today’s launch event in Surabaya is a celebration of the ongoing partnership to strengthen basic education teaching and learning.   A partnership agreement was signed between the two organisations in September 2018. In March 2019, INOVASI signed a formal education pilot proposal with Ma’arif NU, with a plan to implement activities in 30 partner Islamic schools (or madrasah) across East Java – namely in Sumenep, Pasuruan and Sidoarjo districts. This new pilot aims to strengthen early grade literacy skills, including how teachers teach literacy. Through the pilot, Ma’arif NU will work directly with teachers, students, principals and school committees, focusing on ways to improve teachers’ understanding of literacy and early classroom learning, and their skills in classroom management and use of learning media. The pilot will also find ways to build a strong reading culture in target districts.

INOVASI Program Director Mark Heyward spoke of the importance of this new partnership in East Java. “INOVASI aims to find various good practices or ways to improve learning outcomes for Indonesian students. This partnership is a wonderful opportunity for us to improve the quality of Islamic education, for schools under the auspices of Ma’arif NU in East Java.”

Michelle Lowe, Counsellor for Governance and Human Development from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, was also positive about this new collaboration. “Through its new partnership with the INOVASI program, Ma’arif NU will pilot new ways to improve early grade literacy outcomes in 30 partner schools across Sumenep, Pasuruan and Sidoarjo districts. We see this as an exciting opportunity to support local efforts to improve the quality of Islamic education in East Java, including new approaches to teaching and learning in Ma’arif partner schools.”

Said KH.Z.Arifin Junaidi, Chairman of Ma’arif NU, “Ma’arif is ready to work together with the INOVASI program and through our madrasahs and Ma’arif target schools to strengthen cooperation. We will also do this through Ma’arif networks in provinces and districts across Indonesia.”

Totok Suprayitno, Head of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Research and Development Agency, spoke more broadly about the importance of education quality in Indonesia. He explained that schools that want to develop should dare to innovate.

“Schools and teachers who want to move forward, they must dare to innovate, dare to think out of the box and dare to change. Ignore inadequate facilities. An important thing is to have the motivation to be better,” said Totok.

Multi-grade Teaching in Basic Education: Opportunities and Challenges

The Research and Development Agency (Balitbang) of the Ministry of Education and Culture together with the INOVASI held Temu INOVASI on 15 May 2019 in the spirit of commemorating National Education Day which fell on 2 May. Carrying the theme “Multigrade Learning in Basic Education: Opportunities and Challenges”, this educational discussion forum presents national and regional perspectives by presenting speakers, namely teachers and education staff in East Java Province (Probolingo ), Probolinggo Regent, East Sumba Deputy Regent, Director Development of Primary Teachers, Directorate General of GTK of Ministry of Education and Culture, as well as representatives of TASS program and INOVASI.

Through the INOVASI program, the governments of Indonesia and Australia have established partnerships to better understand and overcome the challenges of learning in the early classes of basic education, especially those related to student literacy and numeracy skills. One effort to overcome the educational challenges that INOVASI continues to explore is the model of multigrade teaching.

INOVASI and Muhammadiyah launch new education pilot to strengthen basic education in East Java

Surabaya, 3 May 2019 Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI), a partnership program between the Governments of Australia and Indonesia, is collaborating with prominent Islamic association Muhammadiyah in East Java. Today’s launch event in Surabaya is a celebration of the ongoing partnership to strengthen basic education teaching and learning.   A partnership agreement was signed between the two organisations in September 2018. In March 2019, INOVASI signed a formal education pilot proposal with Muhammadiyah, with a plan to implement activities in 14 partner primary schools across East Java – namely in Sidoarjo, Ngawi, Trenggalek and Jember districts. This new pilot aims to strengthen early grade literacy skills, including how teachers teach literacy. Through the pilot, Muhammadiyah will work directly with teachers, students, principals and school committees, focusing on ways to improve teachers’ understanding of literacy and early classroom learning, and their skills in classroom management and use of learning media.

Said Arbaiyah Yusuf, Chair of the PWM East Java Dikdasmen Council, “establishing superior schools has become the realm of Muhammadiyah’s interest in orienting 100% of Muhammadiyah schools to be more effective. One way to accelerate Muhammadiyah schools to become excellent schools is to cooperate with INOVASI. ”

INOVASI Program Director Mark Heyward spoke of the importance of this new partnership in East Java. “INOVASI aims to find various good practices or ways to improve learning outcomes for Indonesian students. This partnership is an extraordinary opportunity for us to support efforts to improve the quality of Islamic education under the auspices of Muhammadiyah. ”

Kirsten Bishop, Minister Counsellor from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, was also positive about this new collaboration. “Through its new partnership with the INOVASI program, Muhammadiyah will pilot new ways to improve early grade literacy outcomes in 14 partner schools across Sidoarjo, Ngawi, Trenggalek and Jember districts. We see this is as an exciting opportunity to support local efforts to improve the quality of Islamic education in East Java, including new apporaches to teaching and learning in Muhammadiyah partner schools.”

Said Dr H. Abdul Mu’ti, M. Ed, General Secretary of the Muhammadiyah Central Executive, “the partnership between Muhammadiyah and INOVASI is very important effort to improve the quality of learning in Indonesia.”

Local solutions to improve education quality explored at Temu INOVASI forum in Batu City, East Java

Batu, 2 May 2019 In collaboration with the Batu City government, the Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program today held a ‘Temu INOVASI’ education forum at Gajah Mada Sports Center in Batu City.

Held in celebration of National Education Day (Thursday 2nd May 2019), the event was an opportunity to recognise Batu City as a ‘Literacy City’, and showcased INOVASI’s program implementation and promising education practices. Batu is one of five INOVASI partner districts/cities in East Java. Other partners include Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, Sumenep, and Probolinggo.

More than 250 participants attended today’s Temu INOVASI, including various educators, government officials, community members and partners. Attendees were able to view a range of interactive education exhibitions during the day, featuring innovative learning materials from teachers and principals. Student works were also on display, helping spark conversation and discussion around the importance of creating a more literate younger generation in Batu City.

INOVASI’s engagement with Batu City began in 2017, through an education innovations stock take. The results of the stock take, which identified promising education practices across East Java, highlighted strong principal leadership and potential at Punten 1 and SDN Sumbergondo 2 primary schools in Batu. Building on the results of this stock take and mapping study, it was decided that INOVASI pilots in Batu would focus on leadership and learning and literacy learning outcomes. In Batu, INOVASI is also partnering with Kolaborasi Literasi Bermakna (KLB) to implement an early grade literacy pilot.

Three sub-districts are participating in INOVASI pilots, including Batu, Junrejo and Bumiaji. Partner schools include 4 primary school working group clusters and 11 madrasah school working group clusters.

In the future, it is hoped that the results from the pilots will be shared with many other schools, teachers and principals across East Java.

Said INOVASI’s Communications Manager, Stephanie Carter, “at today’s Temu INOVASI gathering, we are fortunate to hear from a range of stakeholders. There is much to learn from their discussion, and promising practices at the classroom level.  The topics explored today are incredibly relevant as we continue to find ways to strengthen educational quality and literacy learning outcomes in Batu City.”

The Mayor of Batu also spoke positively about the event. “Batu City would like to thank the INOVASI team, who have worked together with the Batu City government to help us become not just a tourist city, but also a strong education city. We are committed to seeing Batu City becoming a Literacy City. INOVASI is helping us put into action the Mayor Regulation Number 93 2018, which confirms Batu City as a Literacy City.”