As part of pilot design activities in West Nusa Tenggara province, INOVASI is exploring ways to improve learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy for children with disabilities in learning in Lombok Tengah.
As one of Lombok’s four administrative regions, Lombok Tengah (or central Lombok), declared itself an ‘inclusive district’ in 2012. With an 84.6% literacy rate, the district has already allocated resources to support certain groups of low performing students. These existing programs, like the Program Kewenangan Tambahan, have targeted special educators and teachers from special schools. However, if student learning outcomes are to improve, inclusive education remains an area for improvement. For the almost 6,000 teachers in Lombok Tengah, strategies to address inclusive education and children with learning disabilities (CWLD) can be strengthened.
INOVASI IN LOMBOK TENGAH
Through the INOVASI program, the governments of Australia and Indonesia are partnering to understand how student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy can be improved in schools and districts across Indonesia. Lombok Tengah is one of six INOVASI partner districts in NTB.
In Lombok Tengah and in all partner districts and provinces, INOVASI uses a distinctive approach to develop pilot activities and find out what does and doesn’t work to improve student learning outcomes. In simple terms, this approach is called Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA). It sees INOVASI working and learning directly with local partners to explore and identify local problems and co-design locally relevant solutions. This bottom-up way of thinking is certainly not new – conceptually it draws on approaches in the Doing Development Differently and Human Centred Design fields – but INOVASI continues to implement and iterate its own version of this on the ground in Indonesia.
Creating more inclusive classrooms is a priority for the Central Lombok Education Office, but identifying the root of the problem takes further exploration, and a conversation between all stakeholders. INOVASI has put PDIA in action in the district, with initial exploration and problem synthesis commencing in April 2017. Early discussions with a range of stakeholders provided some insights into inclusive educational contexts for CWLD – including with the NTB provincial government, Ministry of Education Primary Education Directorate and Teachers Directorate, Special Education Directorate, and relevant international organisations and donor programs with a focus on children with learning disability services like the Program School System and Quality (SSQ), UNESCO, UNICEF, KOMPAK, PEDULI, Helen Keller International and Handicap International.
Working with local facilitators has been a key part of the pilot planning process, building their capacity and empowering them to use the PDIA approach with local people and co-identify root problem cause and effect. These facilitators come from a pool of teachers, principals and supervisors, from institutions around the district. They are key local assets when it comes to teacher support and capacity building.
INSIGHTS SO FAR: CREATING AN INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM
So far in pilot planning, the INOVASI team has involved many local stakeholders – teachers, CWLD parents, local community, principals, local and provincial government. Moving into the stage of solutions co-design, it became clear what local stakeholders deemed as the key barriers to creating more inclusive classrooms. Teachers highlighted their ability to identify CWLD and their learning barriers as a key issue, as well as strategies to support these children to fully participate in the classroom learning process.
Using a range of tools in the PDIA process to encourage problem cause, effect and prioritisation, and solution brainstorming, INOVASI facilitators helped local groups unpack this further. Teachers have advised they need an identification tool, that helps them identify CWLD learning barriers. This is something for INOVASI to explore further, possibly adapting from other available tools and online learning media modules. Groups like the Washington Group and UNESCO have existing tools that could be explored, tested and adapted as needed to suit local context. When classifying the learning abilities of CWLD and prioritising what learning barriers would be handled by the teacher in the classroom, areas of reading, writing and counting arose as highlight issues.
Another tool that has been discussed is development of a ‘CWLD student learning profile’ which will help teachers record concrete learning strategies for CWLD. This is useful for teacher transition and replacement, as the learning profile can help transfer knowledge about the CWLD student, so teachers don’t start from the beginning each time; learning for all is not delayed.
The pilot planning process in Lombok Tengah has been a story of building local capability just as much as it has been about co-identifying local issues and solutions in inclusive education.
The head of Lombok Tengah’s education department H. Sumum, expressed his appreciation of the new partnership.
‘We are thankful not to walk alone when improving education for children with special needs. Now with INOVASI, there will be additional support for the development of inclusive education in Lombok Tengah. The more we improve for inclusive education, the sooner we can reap the rewards. It is noble work, building a joint commitment to raise the dignity of children with special needs – from the child at home, to the child at school’.
As part of final pilot design, ideas testing and review will continue during the November 2017 period, including in selected schools and classrooms. The Lombok Tengah pilot will commence implementation in early 2018. Follow the INOVASI Facebook page for more updates.