The fourth episode of Te’e Meze Education Podcast, a collaboration between the Nagekeo’s Education and Culture Office, Radio Suara Nagekeo, and INOVASI, was held on August 26 2022. The discussion that took place talked about the efforts of the Regional Government of Nagekeo District, East Nusa Tenggara Province, to improve students’ literacy and numeracy skills. The podcast was hosted by the Head of the Nagekeo District Communication and Information Office, Ndona Andreas. The Head of Education and Culture Office, Venantius Minggu, and the Secretary of Library and Archives Office, Servulus Nuwa, were present as resource persons. The three officials explored the problems of education in Nagekeo and the efforts that have been made to overcome them.

Hosting the event, Ndona Andreas opened the discussion with the findings of the Regent of Nagekeo during his visits to several schools. “When visiting schools, the Regent always emphasizes three things, namely reading, writing and numeracy. However, when the Regent tested the students he met, it turned out that they were not ready or still had problems doing it. How does the Education and Culture Office handle this?”

According to the Head of Education and Culture Office, Venantius, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the students’ literacy level, especially at the primary level, was already low. The pandemic exacerbated the situation and caused learning loss. However, the implementation of the Literacy program in 50 primary schools with the support of INOVASI was able to accelerate the improvement of students’ reading skills, including those who experienced learning loss. Previously, students needed at least a year to move through reading levels, such as from alphabets and syllables to words and short sentences.

We have adopted it into the Nagekeo Regional Government program (Literacy Program), our children are so quick to understand literacy, numeracy in the early grades, even in 4, 5 months the children already know alphabets, words, syllables until they are able to complete a reading comprehension task,” said Venantius.

Another major issue raised in the discussion was the availability of reading books for students. According to Andreas, there needs to be reading books to encourage students’ interest in reading. However, during the Regent’s various visits, he found that many schools did not have reading books.

The Secretary of Library and Archives Office, Servulus Nuwa, said that there are external and internal factors affecting children’s reading ability. The availability of reading books is considered as the external factor, while the children’s own interest in reading is considered as the internal factor. According to Servulus, these two factors are interconnected. The availability of interesting reading books can encourage children’s interest in reading. “Since 2019, we have had a mobile library service that serves 307 points and reaches 100 schools,” said Servulus, explaining the efforts made by his office to respond the lack of reading books for school children.

Listen to the full recording of this fourth episode of Te’e Meze Education Podcast on: