The Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program, an education partnership between the Australian and Indonesian governments, participated in the International Conference on Special Education (ICSE) held at Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya over the weekend. The activity was co-organized by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and Universitas Negeri Surabaya (UNESA), sharing presentations and exhibitions related to special education innovations across Southeast Asia.
At the three-day conference, INOVASI showcased its inclusive education pilots from West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. In Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, INOVASI is implementing a pilot to improve the quality of learning for children with special needs. In 2012, Central Lombok district declared itself as an ‘Inclusive District’, with an ongoing focus on socially inclusive education. Local government continues to support efforts that benefit children with special needs in the classroom, including disabilities and learning difficulties. INOVASI is pleased to support Central Lombok with this agenda, including through the inclusion and disability pilot, and in the development of the district’s inclusive education road map.
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 CIS Timor, working to strengthen school capacity and inclusive education in East Sumba, an INOVASI partner district in East Nusa Tenggara province. Working with nine schools in Rindi sub-district, the CIS program focuses on training in inclusive education, inclusive community involvement, and coalitions for change.
INOVASI also showcased reading books from its partnership with Forum Lingkar Pena (FLP), a grantee in Central Lombok. The books are levelling reading books equipped with sign language specifically to be used by deaf students.
The INOVASI exhibition booth was visited by many participants, most of whom were teachers and inclusive activists from Southeast Asian countries. Hasni, a participant from Malaysia and also an inclusive teacher, explained that the sign language reading books created by FLP are innovations that will certainly help deaf children increase their reading interest.
“This book is great and we can adopt it for the implementation of inclusive education in Malaysia!” exclaimed Hasni.
The event, which took place on 13-15 July 2019, culminated with a group visit to inclusive schools in Surabaya.