INOVASI Phase I (2016-2020): Completion Report – June 2020

The Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program is an eight-year Australian Government initiative over two phases that aims to accelerate progress towards improved learning outcomes for Indonesian students. It focuses on three areas of investigation: quality of teaching in the classroom; quality of support for teachers; and learning for all. This Activity Completion Report (ACR) encapsulates the program’s progress and achievements in Phase I, which commenced on 18 January 2016 and concluded on 30 June 2020. The report summarises the program outcomes, the body of evidence produced and its influence on policy designed to improve learning outcomes. The ACR informs the implementation of INOVASI Phase II, as it incorporates reflections on lessons learned, what worked well and what can be improved in the next phase.


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Study: Literacy, what works and why – emerging evidence from INOVASI on effective practice in early grades literacy

This study is a compilation of what we have learned about improving literacy outcomes in the course of INOVASI Phase 1 (2016-2020). It provides emerging evidence of what can work to bring about improvement in the program’s regional contexts. INOVASI’s development experience of seeking local ownership of problems and solutions is a key component of the evidence the program has produced. The orientation to literacy in INOVASI derives from its critical importance as the foundation of learning, and Indonesia’s own ambitions for the literacy capabilities of its youth. These ambitions have two sources. One is the country’s own research establishing the existing distance between Indonesian students’ performance and proficiency in higher order comprehension as measured globally by international literacy assessments. The other is the current nation-building vision of the Nawa Cita, to which literacy is intended to contribute by widening horizons and capacity for self-development.

Study: Numeracy, what works and why – emerging evidence from INOVASI on effective practice in early grades numeracy

This study was designed and conducted by INOVASI to explore the impact of two main pilot teacher training programs on the teaching and learning of early grade numeracy concepts. These ‘short courses’ were implemented in partner districts in Indonesia. The process was underpinned by the program’s theory of change based on a problem-driven iterative adaptation approach (PDIA). The study discusses what works in INOVASI’s partner districts and potentially in other Indonesian contexts to develop the numeracy knowledge, skills and behaviours, including fluency and flexibility with numbers, that students and teachers need.

The study collected both quantitative and qualitative data to establish what works in INOVASI’s partner districts and to investigate to what extent training teachers in specific areas will result in improved student learning outcomes. The emphasis was on teaching methods, providing and using appropriate materials and improving students’ higher-order thinking skills in applying their newly developed knowledge and skills.  The mixed method approach discussed in the study includes: teacher observations; student and teacher assessments; teacher interviews; and in-depth video observations.

Study: Lessons from INOVASI’s phase 1 work on disability-inclusive education

The purpose of this study is to assemble and examine early findings from the disability inclusion aspects of INOVASI’s work in phase one. The study focuses on the activities in the three pilot districts of Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara; Probolinggo, East Java; and East Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, and covers activities within partnerships as well as those involving systems and policy engagement. The study explores what has worked and has not worked to improve disability-inclusive education in INOVASI, and what enablers and barriers that we need to take note of in progressing Indonesia’s inclusive education reforms.

Study: Using PDIA to accelerate the progress of Indonesian students’ learning outcome

INOVASI’s approach to improving learning outcomes in early grades is through a strategy known as problem-driven iterative adaptation (PDIA). The way that INOVASI applies and interprets PDIA has evolved since the program began. In 2016, the program used PDIA primarily to conduct classroom action research and also to encourage teachers to develop a growth mindset. At that time, INOVASI applied PDIA at the classroom level, asking teachers to identify their students’ learning problems and devise solutions. However, at the second strategy testing session in 2017 the team decided that many teachers still lacked fundamental competencies in literacy and numeracy. Hence, expecting them to identify problems and solutions was unrealistic. After that, INOVASI instituted a short-course approach that was itself an iteration since the approach was built on knowledge from previous donor-supported education programs. Local iterations of INOVASI’s own short courses began in 2019 when local stakeholders started to adjust the content of the courses and decide how best to deliver them in their own districts. Since 2018, INOVASI’s PDIA approach has also included a ‘thinking and working politically’ component. The program works with the districts to develop more appropriate regulations to support better learning outcomes. Using PDIA, INOVASI works together with district-level officials in identifying the district’s most pressing challenges. To assess whether the PDIA approach has been effective, this study examines the evidence from the Guru BAIK pilot and the most recent ‘Jalan Andrews’ approach that is extending the use of PDIA at the district level.

Study: CPD and sustainability, a study of CPD and the sustainability of benefits in Indonesia from INOVASI’s pilot

INOVASI’s approach to improving learning outcomes in early grades is through a strategy known as problem-driven iterative adaptation (PDIA). Development strategies begin with understanding local challenges, and designing, implementing, and testing contextually relevant intervention pilots to improve learning and teaching. Working with local communities of practice, the teachers’ working group, is a key strategy. The continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers, principals and supervisors is the common approach to achieve change.

This study explores whether INOVASI’s approach works – and why – with a focus on the CPD of early-grade teachers through short courses in literacy, numeracy and supporting issues. The study further considers the sustainability and scale-out of benefits to local stakeholders. INOVASI’s approach to CPD, sustainability, and scale-out is consistent with the findings of studies published in the international and local literature. Used as a benchmark, these studies indicate no shortcomings in either INOVASI’s design or implementation of change. This outcome is reflected in the success of the work being undertaken in districts and schools.

REPORT: The Status of Children with Disabilities and Inclusive Education in Central Lombok

Since Central Lombok declared itself as an inclusive district a decade ago, the district has made various efforts to provide a better life for children with disabilities including, for example, increasing the number of inclusive schools, training teachers in inclusive education and forming an inclusive working group. However, data from the district’s social services office (2018) shows that there are still childen with disabilities who do not attend school.

This study was conducted to explore the lives and status of children with disabilities and the implementation of inclusive education in Central Lombok. We conducted a literature review using secondary data, as well as interviews and discussions to establish the situation in the field. Various actors from the community, schools and stakeholder organisations were involved as resource people. The total numbers of participants involved in interviews and focus group discussions were 55 and 93 respectively, with balanced numbers of men and women. The basic education data (Dapodik) and the social services office data were the main sources of secondary data.


Once the project was initiated in East Java, INOVASI conducted this baseline study to investigate the social and political context of basic education in the area. The study focuses on seven issues: (a) local stakeholders’ perception of education quality; (b) primary education issues and challenges; (c) government programs and policies to overcome the challenges; (d) promising practices or innovations in primary education; (e) local stakeholders’ views about teachers’ working group (KKG) activities in each district; (f) opportunities to use the village funds to improve the quality of education; and (g) the development planning meetings (musrenbang) to support primary education quality improvement programs. This baseline study applied qualitative research methods to meet its objectives. We collected data about the situation of basic education from the perspectives of local stakeholders through interviews and focus group discussions. We conducted a literature review to identify the current policies and programs relating to education at the national and local levels. The current policies and legal documents included in this review were identified during interviews and through electronic searches and other information channels.

This baseline report presents the issues and challenges of basic education in East Java and makes recommendations for INOVASI’s future interventions.

Report: INOVASI Midline in West Nusa Tenggara, July 2019

West Nusa Tenggara was the first partner province for the Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program in Indonesia. The pilot program was carried out in six targeted districts: North Lombok, Central Lombok, Sumbawa, West Sumbawa, Bima and Dompu. In 2018, the third year of the program, INOVASI needed to gather up-to-date information about the stakeholders’ perspectives on education, particularly in relation to literacy, numeracy skills and inclusive education. More specifically, INOVASI needed to assess whether and to what extent the stakeholders have changed their mindsets and practices.

INOVASI also wanted to comprehend the learning conditions in the six targeted districts in West Nusa Tenggara, the enabling environments that improve the quality of education in these areas and how these aspects have shifted during the pilot program implementation period. Hence, fourteen research questions were developed accordingly and were used as the basis for designing the research instruments.

This report provides an overview of the implementation of INOVASI’s pilot programs in the six targeted districts and compares the results with the baseline study’s results. The data was collected from key informants at provincial, district and school levels in the targeted districts in December 2018.

The findings indicate that, overall, INOVASI’s pilot program was successfully implemented and contributed to changes in the mindsets of practitioners and to the practices in basic education in the targeted districts.

Study: A study report on working groups for teachers, principals and school supervisors as a forum and support network for continuing professional development

The overall quality of education can only be improved by continuously enhancing the professional skills of the teachers, principals and supervisors working within the system. The continuing professional development program aims to develop the competencies that teachers need to effectively deliver the curriculum. These activities for teachers at regular primary schools and religious primary schools (referred to as madrasah throughout this report) can be carried out in various ways, including through teachers’ working groups. Furthermore, the principals and supervisors’ working groups, in developing the professional capacity of their members, will become a support network for teachers and improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools.

INOVASI is committed to supporting professional development for teachers, principals and supervisors through various activities and teachers’s working groups are a potential forum for sustainable professional development.