Improving numeracy learning outcomes in Sumenep, East Java

In September 2018, INOVASI commenced 27 grant-funded pilots, with 18 new grant partners. This grants initiative is a key part of our approach to expanding and strengthening engagement with Indonesia’s non-governmental education sector. One of these grant partners is Bina Nusantara (Binus) University, working to strengthen early grade numeracy teaching and learning in Sumenep, an INOVASI partner district in East Java. Working with 17 schools in two sub-districts, including 14 public schools and 3 private Islamic schools (or madrasah), the Binus program aims to improve numeracy learning outcomes for children in grades one to three. Saya terlibat dalam program ini dalam kapasitas sebagai kepala sekolah.

Across all areas of Indonesia, and indeed in a global sense, mathematics is often seen as the most difficult subject for primary school students (and their teachers!) In Sumenep district, where INOVASI is implementing a numeracy education pilot in partnership with Binus University, 2018 baseline data revealed that 33% of students perceived math, particularly the content, as their most difficult subject (35% for girls and 31% for boys). When it came to teaching math, 61% of teachers found it their most difficult subject to teach to students.

Through the Binus led foundational numeracy pilot, students and teachers in Sumenep are growing their skills and knowledge using the 2013 national curriculum. Innovative numeracy teaching and learning models are being implemented at the classroom level by pilot teachers, with support from Binus local facilitators.

Through recent training sessions with principals and school supervisors, the pilot has focused on strengthening teaching supervision, so that teachers have the necessary guidance and direction to improve how they teach numeracy with early grade students. Principals and school supervisors play a key role.

Now in partner schools, with guidance from these principals and supervisors, teachers have begun to implement new active learning approaches. Already, learning has improved.

“Hopefully numeracy can become a strong method that we can use to improve knowledge and quality of education for students,” said Abu Zaini, a grade one teacher from madrasah Annibron in Sumenep. In Abu’s school and other partner schools, teachers note that students have become more excited and engaged during math class, particularly in grades one and two. Students that previously did not like the class content, now look forward to learning more – particularly with the new modules and learning materials from the pilot.

“Now I think numeracy is great!” said Betty Yulastanti, a grade one teacher at SDN Torbang 3 primary school. She noted how her opinion of teaching math has shifted since the pilot began. New teaching methods for students have included learning to play sambal using domino mathematics, interactive games to help with counting and number recognition, and a significant increase in student- teacher interaction and discussion.

The pilot has also engaged with parents, to encourage them to work with students on their math homework after school and in the evenings, something they have not previously done. With the school and community working together, including with stronger supervision from school principals and supervisors, math learning outcomes can be improved for children in Sumenep.


Improving numeracy learning outcomes in Sumenep, East Java