The Tana Tidung District Education Office in North Kalimantan Province realises that the safety of students and teachers istheir main priority. INOVASI has been supporting Tana Tidung District in North Kalimantan in facing the education challenges in these difficult times.

Teaching Materials

The current teaching materials using thematic books and other sources are designed for face-to-face learning accompanied by the teacher. The materials are unsuitable for home-based learning as they require teaching skills, which all parents may not have.

Supported by INOVASI, the The Tana Tidung District Education Office developed special teaching materials that target literacy and numeracy learning, life skills, and character education that students can use at home with minimal teacher assistance. The development of the materials was done by a technical team consisting of teachers from each class, representatives of school principals and Dinas staff.

Teaching New First Graders

A new challenge facing schools and teachers in the new school year in July 2020 is how to teach new first graders. As teachers have no previous knowledge of students’ ability, it would be difficult to rely on thematic teaching worksheets which contains many texts. The new first graders may not know their letters yet. On the contrary, if new first graders know their letters, providing them with teaching sheets with only basic letter introduction content may not challenge their learning interest.

This problem was brought up in a group discussion together with education actors, including INOVASI, led by the Tana Tidung District Education office. The solution was to conduct mapping to assess the skills of new first graders in district by the respective schools. Last February, INOVASI had trained facilitators to use a tool to assess student’s reading ability. Now as a results, the district has facilitators ready to support the mapping exercise.

On the third week of July 2020, all schools in Tana Tidung conducted tests to map the reading skills of new first graders. A team of enumerators, consisting of a first grader teacher, principal, and a local facilitator, visited the houses of the first graders. The teams were assigned to adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols including use of masks and face shields. The assessment results will help ensure that distribution of materials for first graders is student-centred.

Throughout the whole assessment process, the spirit and commitment of the enumerator teams are clearly visible. Despite the challenging geographical terrain of Tana Tidung District, made worse by the high rainfall, the teams were still able to visit several students daily. This is the kind of commitment needed to ensure that children get what they need in learning from home.

“Without basic literacy, children will have challenges in following learning in higher grades…. We also would like INOVASI to continue to provide us with feedbacks for our implementation, so we can always do better together. As much as possible, we want to strive for quality education despite COVID-19,” said Jaffar Sidik, S.E, Head of Tana Tidung Education Office.