As one of six INOVASI partner districts in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, North Lombok has faced an uphill battle since the district was severely affected by a 6.9 earthquake in early August 2018.
When the earthquake struck, local communities, schools and teachers were affected, and teaching and learning was disrupted temporarily. Subsequent aftershocks caused further damage to government buildings, schools, and community morale. The aftershocks continued for weeks, and were felt by students and teachers alike. All 21 of INOVASI’s partner schools were damaged, leading to a visible need for temporary classrooms and shelter, and strategies to enable a return to learning.
In the spirit of finding local solutions to local issues in education, INOVASI began to rapidly work with local stakeholders to devise new strategies for improving educational quality in the after-math of the earthquake. This includes psycho-social counselling and education for affected students and communities, and temporary classroom construction using local materials like bamboo.
Just last week on Friday 5th April, a new milestone was reached in North Lombok’s ongoing recovery journey. Led by Program Director Mark Heyward, INOVASI handed over 13 bamboo schools to the North Lombok district government. The handover ceremony was held at SD 8 Sokong primary school, and was attended by the Head of the North Lombok District Education Office, Head of Regional Technical Implementation Unit of Tanjung, Head of Regional Technical Implementation Unit of Pemenang, supervisors, primary school principals, the principal of Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (Islamic school), INOVASI’s NTB Provincial Manager and district team, and local media.
In his handover remarks, Mark Heyward thanked the North Lombok Regency Government for their cooperation so that the construction of the bamboo schools could be completed properly. Since 2017, INOVASI has been working together with North Lombok Regency in improving the quality of basic education. Various pilots have been carried out in North Lombok, including the Literacy Boost (in partnership with Save the Children Indonesia), Guru BAIK, Foundational Literacy (also known as PELITA), and Saya Suka Membaca (in partnership with Tunas Aksara Foundation).
INOVASI Provincial Manager in NTB, Edy Herianto, explained how INOVASI’s focus in North Lombok had expanded after the earthquake. When the initial early grade literacy pilot was temporarily stopped post earthquake, INOVASI looked for ways to help build schools so that children could immediately return to school. Bamboos were chosen as the primary material because they were considered safer than steel frames – and were locally sourced. The bamboo school was intended to make children more comfortable in learning, ensuring they feel safe from earthquakes.
Head of the Youth, Sports, and Education Office Dr. Fauzan, M.Pd expressed his gratitude to INOVASI for all efforts made in helping improve the quality of education in North Lombok. “The INOVASI pilots have had a significant impact on partner schools,” he said.
INOVASI support for schools is not only given to public schools, but also to Islamic primary schools. The 12 schools that received bamboo school assistance included SDN 1 Malaka, SDN 2 Malaka, SDN 5 Malaka, SDN 6 Malaka, SDN 3 Pemenang Barat, SDN 8 Sokong, MI Hidayaturrahman NW Menggala, MI Syamsul Huda Lekok, MI Ijtihadul Islamiyah Karang Kendal, MI Riyadul Jannah NW Penjor, MI Nurul Hodayah NW Rempek, and MI Nurul Huda Gondang. A bamboo school was also established at the Regional Technical Implementation Unit Office in Tanjung.
“Since the beginning, INOVASI has provided support to Islamic schools. This is of course in line with the North Lombok Regent’s Program in realizing fair education in North Lombok,” said INOVASI District Facilitator in North Lombok, Anhar Putra Iswanto.