Local principal works to strengthen education quality in North Lombok

Since signing an MoU with West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province in 2016, INOVASI has carried out a range of different pilot programs in its six partner NTB districts. North Lombok is one of those districts. Pilots in North Lombok have worked to improve student learning outcomes in the early grades, particularly in the field of literacy. INOVASI training also seeks to improve teacher understanding of the curriculum content and improve the ability of teachers to use key processes for literacy development, including formative assessment and early grade reading.

To support program implementation at the district level, INOVASI engages local people to work as local facilitators (or Fasda). Fasda are often already working locally as teachers, principals and supervisors. The Lombok earthquake in August 2018 affected several INOVASI partner schools in North Lombok, and the program refocused its efforts as part of the emergency response.  In early 2019, the pilot program was re-implemented in North Lombok. In this story, a local Fasda – also a local principal – shares his experience from working with INOVASI in North Lombok.  

For Saipudin, a local Fasda and school principal in North Lombok district, there is no obstacle too large when it comes to improving teaching and learning. As a school principal at SDN 4 Sukadana primary school, a remote sub-district of North Lombok, Saipudin tries to provide the best for his colleagues and school students – as well as other pilot partner teachers. As a Fasda with INOVASI, he plays a key role in teacher training and mentoring at nearby schools SDN 3 Sukadana and MI Miftahussuar NW Loloan, Bayan.

“As a district facilitator, in my training I give an understanding of how to create a literate class, facilitating fellow teachers so that the learning process in class can improve student skills. This is in line with the objectives of the program being implemented, namely the early grade literacy program,” he explained.

Local facilitator produces results

Thanks to Saipudin’s Fasda mentoring, he has helped to bring about positive change for partner teachers in INOVASI’s early grade literacy pilot.

One grade two teacher at SDN 3 Sukadana, Dian Supiani, is one of those teachers. After attending the training program, Dian’s class appearance changed. From a class that previously had no student works on display and no learning media, it is now a lively learning space – complete with reading corner. In addition, the use of Big Book media has been proven to help improve students’ literacy skills in recognizing letters and reading. The layout of the students’ seating plans has also changed, and now on the classroom floor there are pictures showing letters. Dian now also knows how to evaluate students’ abilities through formative assessment.

“After I took part in the training and made the class more engaging, I also did a student’s reading ability test. Through the assessment conducted, I learned which of my students could not read. After I made various efforts, for example teaching using the Big Book, students were even more enthusiastic about learning. With a more literate class and a reading corner, students were more happy to be in class. Even during break time, they don’t go out to play,” she said proudly.

There has also been an increase in the students’ reading ability. Dian’s test shows the extent of students’ reading skills, and it appears that students who were not familiar with letters can now read them more easily.

The INOVASI early grade pilot in North Lombok works to improve the literacy ability of early grade students, through training for teachers, principals and supervisors. The pilot uses INOVASI’s early grade literacy short course style module, which consists of seven units. These include the use of Big Book, and formative assessment.

The principal of SDN 3 Sukadana primary school, Yuliani, has also seen positive changes in her school, thanks to the pilot training.

“We have witnessed changes in our teachers. Before participating in the INOVASI program, our teachers taught in a conventional manner and only used the methods they knew of. After joining the program, the teachers not only got up but our students in grades 1-3 also became motivated to take lessons. Even students are more happy to be in class because the class is now more interesting, and there is a reading corner. This is extraordinary,” Yuliani explained.

Overcoming obstacles

In helping pilot teachers, Saipudin believes that challenges and obstacles must be addressed immediately. There are times when teachers find it difficult to express problems in their class, making his guidance and assistance crucial for moving forward.

“Some of the challenges that I have encountered since I was a local district facilitator from the beginning of the program until now, are in terms of how I can direct teachers and gather information from teachers about the obstacles they face in class. Because there are only teachers who cover the real conditions faced in their schools. Here it requires good facilitation and intense communication so that the obstacles faced by the teacher can be explored, then facilitate them in finding relevant solutions, ” said Saipudin.

Saipudin added that another challenge was the perception of some teachers. A few did not consider the pilot training to be important, and so sometimes were indifferent during the teacher working group (KKG) sessions. When this happened, Saipudin as a Fasda was required to conduct intensive coaching with teachers – particularly through local channels like telephone and WhatsApp.

Saipudin has achieved much for the advancement of education in North Lombok. His contribution is not only as a district facilitator but also as an active participant in educational organizations, such as the Secretary of local KKG.

Hope for the future

“In the future, when the INOVASI is no longer active in North Lombok, I hope that the schools will continue to implement this excellent program. Whether it’s the assisted school or my own school, as well as other schools that have been affected by the INOVASI. If necessary, we can rationalize it to classes that have not completed the training for example grades 4, 5 and 6. How happy I will be if this program can impact other schools that have not been touched by this literacy program, through programs in KKG, ” said Saipudin excitedly.

Saipudin’s support for Yuliani, school principal at SDN 3 Sukadana, is an example of this ongoing guidance. Yuliani is appreciative of Saipudin’s diligence which had had a positive impact on the acceleration of the quality of education.

“The benefits are many, especially for our teachers in grades 1-3, who are very enthusiastic in teaching. As the principal, I thank teachers who want to go this far and want to implement this program. Thanking Pak Saipudin for guiding our school in this literacy program for bringing changes to our schools and teachers,” Yuliani said.

The implementation of the INOVASI program in North Lombok focuses not only on improving students’ literacy skills, but also mentoring for teachers affected by the earthquake. By developing a psycho-educational program, this effort has helped teachers carry out the teaching and learning process in the midst of the conditions of students affected by the earthquake. Other programs that have been implemented include the Guru BAIK pilot (creating learning that is aspirational, inclusive and contextual) which aims to help teachers to identify learning problems and then find solutions that are adapted to the local context.

The quality of education in the district of North Lombok continues to increase, especially in terms of early grade literacy learning. With stronger basic literacy skills, NTB can strengthen its human resources and create a strong learning foundation.

 

Local principal works to strengthen education quality in North Lombok