As one of six INOVASI partner districts in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, North Lombok has faced an uphill battle since the district was severely affected by a 6.9 earthquake in early August.
Since partnering with North Lombok in mid-2016, INOVASI pilots initially focused on early grade literacy and teacher training and capacity building, a local government district priority.
When the earthquake struck, local communities, schools and teachers were affected, and teaching and learning was disrupted temporarily. Subsequent aftershocks caused further damage to government buildings, schools, and community morale. The aftershocks continued for weeks, and were felt by students and teachers alike. All 21 of INOVASI’s partner schools were damaged, leading to a visible need for temporary classrooms and shelter, and strategies to enable a return to learning.
In the spirit of finding local solutions to local issues in education, INOVASI began to rapidly work with local stakeholders to devise new strategies for improving educational quality in the after-math of the earthquake. This includes psycho-social counselling and education for affected students and communities, and temporary classroom construction using local materials like bamboo. The psychoeducation component of INOVASI’s post-earthquake response is being implemented in partnership with ABKIN (Indonesian Guidance and Counseling Association). With ABKIN, a module focused on various psycho-education activities has been rolled out to quickly support children and help them adapt to the new learning environment.
Fitria Kaplale, an early grade teacher at Pemenang Barat 2 primary school, is one partner teacher affected by the earthquake. She describes the difficulty in returning to learning post-earthquake, when children feel uneasy and the learning process must be carried out in tents which become hot when exposed to the sun. Student concentration was low, and teaching was challenging.
In early October, Fitria participated in INOVASI’s post-earthquake emergency schooling response in North Lombok, along with another teacher and principal from her school. The training, held at Sokong 2 primary school, aimed to help teachers reduce the level of student trauma by implementing play and imagination based learning strategies. She began to put her new found knowledge and skills into practice with her own students.
“The knowledge that we obtained during the training was very useful for us teachers and even for students. Practicing what we got during the training yesterday can reduce student trauma or trauma healing,” said Fitria. According to Fitria, learning methods and the ability to adjust teaching methods to the situation at hand are a key ingredient to success.
“Until now I have not encountered significant obstacles when practicing what I was able to do in psychoeducation training. I think what needs to be done is to find a connection between the methods we will use and the subject matter we will deliver,” she explained.
Before teaching, Fitria now will prepare lesson plans so that her teaching is directed, and she can see results in student learning and focus. She and other teachers will usually arrange learning plans once per week and are supported by local INOVASI facilitators.
As the weeks have progressed, Fitria has been happy with the results. When in class, students appear to be more settled than before. They also often repeat songs and games that had been taught in class, without encouragement and instruction. For Fitria, this is a sign that they are engaged and active.
“I did not expect the response of my students like that. I think this is amazing because sometimes they suddenly sing the songs that I have taught as if they invited me to do it again. I hope that with this, parents will also be more calm to let go of their children studying at school.”