The INOVASI–SAKB partnership, which began in March 2021 and will continue for 11 months, was implemented in West Sumba district. Six target elementary schools were eligible for assistance in the program: three schools that previously received a literacy intervention program during Phase I in Tana Righu subdistrict and three other schools in the capital of West Sumba district that have easier access. SAKB and INOVASI used a number of instruments and direct observation when deciding on these schools.

The addition of the character education program in the Phase II of INOVASI (2020–2023) is in line with the Indonesian government’s mission to develop students who uphold the values ​​of Pancasila (the five principles of the Indonesian state’s philosophical foundation). In mid-2020, the Ministry of Education and Culture launched the Pancasila Student Profile with the hope that it would help reinforce the Character Education Strengthening Program that is set forth in the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Culture No. 20 of 2018.

Founder of the Pelita Kasih Bangsa Foundation and the Principal of SAKB, Vica Inabuy, previously taught at an international private school in Tangerang, Banten. While teaching there, she learned various strategies for strengthening the character of students and saw how the students were impacted.

“This partnership has a twofold meaning for us. First, it will be a learning opportunity for us at SAKB to continue improving our quality as a school. Second, I want all of the children in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) to experience quality education, not just in the city of Kupang where our school is located,” said Vica.

This program will use the module that was developed by INOVASI. However, some adjustments were made together with SAKB during three module reviews that were held in February 2021. The adjustments were made to enrich the module’s content by using the experience and expertise of SAKB while making sure that it was more contextual. These adjustments were not directly made on the module, but they will be adapted during the implementation of the program.

“INOVASI has developed a very good module, so we will fully utilize it. What we added to it was based on a more practical aspect,” said Vica.

Vica hopes that there will be an internship program at SAKB for the teachers who will be assisted in West Sumba district so that they can see firsthand the strategy and application of the Character-Strengthening Education Program in the school; this will enrich the teachers’ insights.

According to Program and Partnership Coordinator in NTT for INOVASI, Kania Dewi, the results of the intervention over the next 11 months cannot be compared to the results of other intervention programs, such as improving literacy and numeracy during Phase I of INOVASI (2016–2020). This time around, the expectations are more toward looking at the process and development as well as ensuring that the teachers have a more focused and practical strategy for strengthening student character, and that the schools have a character development program and implement it.