The Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) Program is a partnership between the Governments of Australia (GoA) and Indonesia (GoI). INOVASI includes Indonesia’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (MoECRT), Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA), the National Development Planning Ministry (Bappenas), and sub-national partners in the provinces of West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan and East Java. The Program seeks to identify and support changes to education practice, systems and policy which demonstrably accelerate improved student learning outcomes. INOVASI is managed by Palladium on behalf of The Government of Australia (GOA), through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and formally started on 18 January 2016.
INOVASI is implemented in four provinces in Indonesia:
West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, and East Java.
Indonesia has made considerable improvements in access to basic education. Despite more children enrollled in schools – with Government spending doubled over the past 15 years, this has not yet resulted in better learning outcomes. Tests comparing student knowledge and skills in basic literacy and numeracy show that Indonesian students underperform compared with their regional and global peers.
President Joko Widodo has identified ‘human resource development’ as a first-order priority for his second term, including greater emphasis on increasing human capital, the importance of soft skills, national character-building and religious tolerance. INOVASI Phase II has provided support to these areas within basic education. Improved student learning outcomes in basic education provide the foundation for a more skilled Indonesian workforce that will drive economic growth and stability.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has created significant short-term and long-term challenges in Indonesia’s education sector. Alongside the health impacts on children and their families, most schools have been closed and have slowly begun to re-open again in the new school year of 2021-2022 in July, depending on COVID-19 case rates in the regions. While online learning has been made available, there are major constraints to ensure it results in good learning outcomes for all students, including those living in remote areas who often have no access to these materials. This has resulted in a significant learning loss. In coordination with other development partners, the INOVASI Program will assist the Government of Indonesia in learning recovery, for example, by providing technical advice to national and sub-national partners and, possibly, developing digital or home-based learning modules.
A Distinctive Approach:
Local Solutions to Local Learning Challenges
The INOVASI program uses a distinctive approach to develop pilot activities and find out what does and doesn’t work to improve student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy. This approach adopts the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) method from Harvard University that sees INOVASI working and learning directly with local partners to explore and identify local problems and co-design locally relevant solutions to learning challenges.
By using this approach, INOVASI believes that the pilot programs can achieve success because they have been designed together with stakeholders who will continue to utilise them.