In Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, INOVASI is working to improve learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy for children with learning disabilities through the SETARA pilot. 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.
Access to education is the basic right of every Indonesian citizen. In this spirit, INOVASI recently organized a socialization activity for the SETARA pilot on 19 May in Praya, Lombok. As inspired by its name, the pilot is expected to provide equal (or in Bahasa Indonesia, setara) access for all learners in primary school. The socialization workshop was attended by 131 participants from Central Lombok Education Office, Provincial LPMP, principals, supervisors and teachers from 19 target pilot schools.
In his speech, the Head of the Central Lombok Education Office, H. Sumum S.Pd., SH., M.Pd hoped that “this SETARA pilot program can provide equal rights to all students with any conditions.”
He also asserted that children with special needs never expect to be helped but they hope to be given better access to life, especially in education. He also encouraged teachers not to give up when teaching students with special needs.
In a separate interview, Mr. Sumum explained that he expects all teachers to provide access to quality education regardless of the child’s learning ability in the classroom.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Disability Women Association in NTB, Sri Sukarni, delivered the presentation on “Women with Disabilities in NTB.” She revealed that access to equal education should also be provided to women with disabilities. She hopes that the SETARA pilot can provide inclusive education for children with special needs, especially for female students.
Syaiful Islam, Head of Special Education and Education Service NTB Province similarly expressed his appreciation. He had felt concern after observing other schools from other districts reject children with special needs. Since being involved with SETARA, he has appreciated the efforts of INOVASI and the Central Lombok Education Office to advocate for the educational rights of children with special needs, especially for children who are slow in learning. In addition, he also hoped that after this program there will be follow-up for optimization of Inclusive Education Forum, where INOVASI and Central Lombok Education Office can become the initiator.
A representative from the Central Lombok Regency’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, Muhammad Salim, S.Pd conveyed the same thing. “Non-discriminatory education is a common goal, including the objectives of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Education will shape all students, including those with special needs, into intelligent persons with noble character.”
Following socialization activities, the SETARA pilot will now move forward with implementation. To date, 38 local facilitators have been trained in communications, monitoring and evaluation, and education approaches, and are ready to support pilot implementation. SETARA implementation will focus on clusters, optimizing the role of principals and supervisors from 16 schools and 3 madrasah (religious schools). Mentoring materials such as Inclusive Education modules and active learning modules will be developed as workshops and trainings with the principals and supervisors get underway.