In many parts of Indonesia, the need for a reading culture is overwhelmingly strong. North Kalimantan is no exception. Results from Indonesia’s National Assessment Programme (INAP) show that the average literacy score for North Kalimantan is two points lower than the national average score (RPSA Kaltara 2017). In survey activities conducted by INOVASI in 2017, it was found that only 14,59 percent of 1st grade students and 60,94 percent of 2nd grade students can read. Even for those who can read, not all can integrate information and find explicit information from the text.
To further promote an interest in reading, INOVASI last month held a workshop in Peso, Bulungan, together with the Education and Culture Office of Bulungan. Attended by 29 teachers from three primary schools across Peso, the workshop focused on the National School Literacy Movement.
Otherwise known as Gerakan Literasi Nasional (GLN), this movement was launched by Indonesia’s Minister of Education in 2016, along with new books, modules and guides on assessment and scoring for training facilitators. This was in support of the Ministerial Decree on Developing Character for students across Indonesia. At its core, the movement aims to strengthen synergy between key actors in Indonesia’s education system, expanding public involvement in the cultivation of a nation-wide literacy movement.
As an outermost sub-district of Bulungan, Peso is also the last sub-district to enjoy electricity and cellular phone signal. It takes three hours to travel by boat from Tanjung Selor. Since 2017, INOVASI has supported the Education and Culture Office of Bulungan in promoting the School Literacy Movement in communities across Bulungan. INOVASI pilot activities, currently in planning phase, will work to support this.
La’an Laing, principal of primary school SDN 001 Peso, said that she found herself thinking of new ideas after attending the workshop. This included plans for increasing parental participation in building reading skills at home and in school. She also mentioned that although her school has so far been working alone in running the program, she is ready and committed to join the School Literacy Movement.
Roslina Ngau, a 2nd grade teacher from primary school SDN 001 Peso, said much the same. As a teacher, she admitted to experiencing challenges when teaching the alphabet and words. She had resigned herself to the idea that her students are not interested in studying during class time. However, the workshop helped changed her mind set, helping her realise that she has the tools to enhance student interest – if used well.
“(In this workshop) I learned that we can take the students to the school garden to read together. I will try that,” she explained.