The relationship between a skilled work force and the achievement of basic competencies in literacy and numeracy is an important one, underpinning higher order thinking skills (HOTS) such as critical thinking and problem solving. Simply put, if students have not developed minimum competence in literacy and math, the prospect for a highly skilled and relevant workforce remains slim.

When it comes to international test results across Indonesia, it is clear that students are failing to grasp mathematical concepts used in real-world problems. Over the last four PISA assessments, spread across the past decade, Indonesia’s performance has remained much the same. Approximately 40 per cent of children age 15 are still below the lowest level of the international standard.

This October 2019 policy brief explores key strategic issues and policy recommendations for early grade numeracy in Indonesia. The brief draws on INOVASI’s work and body of evidence to date based on pilot implementation in four provinces, namely in West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java – including emerging pilot endline data from Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara. A further update of the brief will be done in late 2019 with additional endline data.