This past weekend, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met with innovative teachers on in Surabaya, East Java, to celebrate the ’10th Anniversary of the Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE School Partnership’ event. Held at Muhammadiyah 2 high school in Surabaya, the event featured several teachers who had been involved in the BRIDGE (Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement) program and two innovative teachers currently involved in the INOVASI (Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children) program.
Fithriyah Mulyasari and Endang Kusniati, two teachers from primary school Gelam 2 Sidoarjo, one of them an INOVASI partner school, showcased their learning tools in maths, natural sciences, social sciences, and local languages. One particular tool on display was called ‘Alhima’, made from used wooden boards, plastic cups and marbles and used to teach addition to early grade students.
INOVASI Program Director Mark Heyward, who accompanied the Foreign Minister through the teacher exhibition, explained that INOVASI in East Java encourages teachers to explore and use good practices in basic education. He outlined how INOVASI is working to improve teacher capacity in literacy, numeracy and inclusive education, especially in the early grades. In East Java, INOVASI works with five partner districts, including Sidoarjo, Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Sumenep, and Batu City.
Joanne Dowling, Facility Director for the Australian Government funded Technical Assistance for Education Systems Strengthening (TASS) program, also accompanied the Minister through the exhibition. She explained the broader importance of Australia’s investment in basic education, from past to present. This includes the quality support provided by TASS at the national policy level in Indonesia.
The Minister spoke positively about Australia’s contribution to education in Indonesia. In her official remarks, she explained that the cooperation between Indonesia and Australia, especially in education, has provided encouraging results.
“Education cooperation between the Australian and Indonesian governments shows the best results and is a good example for Australia’s cooperation with other countries,” she explained.
Australia’s education cooperation with Indonesia spans many years and programs, with BRIDGE, INOVASI and TASS being some of them.
Through the BRIDGE program, Indonesia sends students, teachers and school communities to study for a short period in Australia and vice versa. In addition, the Australian government has helped build more than 1,100 schools, supported more than 1,300 madrasahs (Islamic schools) with their professional accreditation, and trained more than 24,000 educators through the former Education Partnership program. Currently, education investment is delivered through INOVASI and TASS.
The Foreign Minister’s was part of her current tour through Southeast Asia. In addition to visiting Indonesia, she has recently visited visited East Timor, Malaysia and Singapore.