Success in literacy, means success in later life. By strengthening basic literacy skills in the early grades, we can equip students to be more productive members of the work force in the future. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are all core literacy skills that students should master in early primary school.
One INOVASI pilot is helping to strengthen literacy skills in Dompu, with support from community and local government. The Peningkatan Kualitas Pembelajaran dengan Melibatkan Masyarakat (BERSAMA) pilot aims to improve student literacy and reduce absenteeism in early grades at 12 targeted schools in Dompu (three madrasah and nine regular schools).
During the earlier pre-pilot process in Lepadi Village, Dompu, up to 20 million IDR was leveraged in village funds to support implementation in 2018. Dompu local library also offered financial support, with up to 50 million IDR contributing to BERSAMA pilot activities. This support reflects strong commitment from local policy makers and village leaders in Dompu district, to strengthening educational quality.
To further strengthen pilot implementation in 2018, including early grade literacy skills, a short course structure will be incorporated into community engagement activities, focused on literacy. The pilot will aim to improve literacy practices at school but also to involve parents and the community in improving literacy, for instance through a mobile village library and by raising awareness among parents. Village funds are being used to support the activities piloted in Lepadi, and teachers and parents have so far volunteered their time and expertise.
Recently, literacy short course training was held with local INOVASI facilitators, to prepare them for work with partner schools and teachers. The training was held at ‘Rumah INOVASI’ at the Dompu District Office of Education and Culture, and helped facilitators explore seven key literacy learning units. These included initial introduction to literacy, big book, phonological awareness, word reading, fluency in reading, reading comprehension, and writing skills.
In the spirit of local capacity building and ownership, the activity was facilitated by local facilitators who had earlier received training in Jakarta with INOVASI’s education program development team. These facilitators will lend their new found skills and knowledge to mentor and work with other teachers in the district.
The literacy short course, with its community engagement component, will be cluster based and implemented through KKG meetings across a number of months and sessions. Each unit will include direct practice and application in the classroom, and ongoing reflection so that teachers can learn and iterate.
During the Dompu short course training, several challenges were discussed, in preparation for implementation. These included school readiness, student awareness and government commitment to future budgeting. However, after seeing the enthusiasm of the participants, representatives from both INOVASI and local government, especially the Office of Education and Culture, were optimistic that efforts to improve the quality of education for primary school children in Dompu will be successful.
Community engagement will be a strong focus of the Dompu pilot. INOVASI will approach the community and help train parents to be able to teach their children literacy and numeracy. Literacy and numeracy training for parents will be facilitated by ‘literacy volunteers’, who will be selected and trained by INOVASI in October in line with the start of the short course.
Efforts to increase literacy in Dompu continue to be supported by local policy makers and regulations. Presently, the district is finalising the Dompu education roadmap which will be followed by a public testing process. Education Office representatives will also take part in upcoming short course literacy and volunteer training activities as a way to transfer knowledge and skills and ensure program sustainability.