UNICEF Assists 120 Elementary Schools in Papua Land for Literacy Program

goodmorningpapua.com – UNICEF has created a number of literacy programs in 120 early grade elementary schools in the provinces of Papua and West Papua to improve the literacy skills of early grade students in remote areas in Papua.

A Head of the UNICEF Papua and West Papua Representative Office, Aminuddin Mohammad Ramdan, said 120 elementary schools are located in 6 districts in Papua and West Papua Provinces. The six are Biak Numfor Regency, Jayapura Regency, Mimika Regency, Jayawijaya Regency, Manokwari Regency, and Sorong Regency.

Data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) 2018 The Pure Participation Rate or NER for Papua and West Papua is still below the national figure. The national NER is 98 percent, while Papua is 79 percent and West Papua is 94 percent.

When the ‘baseline study’ or initial survey in 2015 showed that 50 percent of students in the early grades who were in the outskirts and inland of Tanah Papua could not read and write. The main reason, said Ramdan, was the limited connectivity of road access, especially in the outskirts and remote areas of Papua and West Papua Provinces, which resulted in high teacher absenteeism.

There are schools that are sometimes only accessible by car, such as the Hilux and Fortuner, using speedboats and even helicopters which require a large amount of money. In addition, said Ramdan, during the pandemic many children did not attend lessons regularly, because of changes in family economic life occured during the pandemic. This kind of thing then results in the potential for their child to have to leave school for assiting the family. When children don’t learning, they automatically cannot get the best opportunities for their future, since their education is also not fulfilled properly.

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However, said Ramdan, after two years of implementing the literacy program from UNICEF, the evaluation results in 2017 the number of students unable to read decreased from 50 percent down to 27 percent. For him, this shows that the intervention that UNICEF has carried out with the provincial governments of Papua and West Papua and the respective Education Offices in the districts and cities is quite effective in targeting programs to improve students’ literacy in early grades.

The early grade literacy program organized with the main pillars of activities in schools and government is supported by the community, mainly focusing on improving the ability of teachers to teach standardized literacy in these schools.

UNICEF coordinates with the Education Offices in each district to improve the classroom management supervision and management system based on local school conditions. Ramdan said the local government had actually made a lot of efforts to increase literacy, but indeed it couldn’t be seen as only a sectoral issue, but had to be looked at as a whole.

For example, the PUPR Service for the construction of school facilities and the Village Community Empowerment Service administer the village fund budget to be allocated for education. An Acting Head of the Regional Office of Education, Libraries and Archives of the Papua Province, Protasius Lobya, said that there must be a regional regulation on literacy programs in districts and cities in Papua. So that there is a guaranteed budget for the literacy program.

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