Understanding local context and education challenges is a key feature of the INOVASI program. In Dompu, INOVASI has been working closely with the local community to better understand and identify key educational issues. One such issue has been the lack of the community’s role in the education sector, contributing to lower levels of literacy and numeracy skills in primary schools across the district. In this context, INOVASI’s current pilot, ‘Community Engagement to Improve Learning Outcomes’ (known locally as BERSAMA) is seeking to address the absence of the community in education.
As local educators explain, the education of children is not only the responsibility of the teacher – parents also play an important role. With children spending most of their time at home, including on the weekend, learning support at home is essential. Not only that, but good collaboration between teachers and parents goes a long way to improving children’s learning outcomes.
Earlier in 2018, INOVASI’s pre-pilot activities focused on community libraries and ways to engage the community in strengthening education for children temporarily out of school for economic reasons, including child jockeys and children accompanying parents for seasonal rice planting and harvesting.
Now in Tembalae Village, Pajo sub-district, Literacy Volunteers (otherwise known as ‘Relasi’) are actively encouraging parents to be more active and involved in their children’s education. Several parent gatherings have been held to brief them on strategies for home support. The end aim? Children’s learning will improve, particularly in reading and literacy.
In a workshop that took place last month at Raodhatul Jannah’s Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI), parents gathered with Relasi appointed by the village government to learn how they can effectively grow communication with their child’s teacher. Parents were encouraged to be more open and ‘brave’ when meeting teachers, so they can share information about their child’s development. With more open communication channels, parents can learn more about what difficulties children are facing, and what solutions they can work on together.
In Tembalae village alone, there are 10 Relasi who hold briefing sessions for around 60 parents. Tembalae Village Chief, Amir Machmud, will often attend post briefing evaluation sessions to provide input to the Relasi and to INOVASI.
Dahlia, a parent who has now attended these meeting several times, said she has begun putting what she learnt into practice immediately.
“I always try to take the time to ask my child about what he learned at school that day. Usually I check his homework or accompany him to learn to spell. Although this is not easy because he often plays outside. If I have any question, I will go to school to meet the teacher,” she explained.
The BERSAMA pilot is also active in two other villages, Ranggo and Lepadi. All are located in Dompu’s Pajo sub-district. A total of 10 primary schools are involved.