Supporting Education in The Remote Areas of Indonesia
Written by: Nurul Hasanah, Tanoto Foundation Riau
Pulau Padang (Padang Island) in Malacca Strait is in close proximity to Malaysia. Administratively, Pulau Padang is located in Meranti District, Riau Province. It takes six hours from Pekanbaru to travel to this island of 60 km length and 29 km width.
Wan Amrizal is one of the Island’s native residents. He cares a great deal about his home place and has decided to support the area’s children through teaching. Since graduating from school, he has been devoting his life as a teacher at SDN (State Primary School) 4 Mekar Delima. Every day, after Wan Amrizal finishes his morning teaching sessions, he spends his free time in the afternoon as a tutor. Wan Amrizal, or popularly known as Pak Wan (Mr. Wan,) helps children and adults to obtain their education diplomas at the institution that he has established.
“People of Pulau Padang, especially in Tasik Putri Puyu Sub District, are very motivated to study. From the children up to the adults, they are aware of the importance of education. However, their high drive to learn is often hampered by the limited capacity of teachers in carrying out effective yet fun teaching and learning process,” said Pak Wan.
Pak Wan was pleased when the Tanoto Foundation started Pelita Guru Mandiri program in 2015 in Pulau Padang. In the program which aims to improve teachers’ capacity to carry out good teaching and learning process, Pak Wan was trained on contextual learning in which teaching and learning activities in the classrooms are associated with daily experiences. Pak Wan feels that this method is extremely relevant and suitable for the condition he faces.
“I learned many new ideas from Pelita Guru Mandiri training. This method that adapts out-of-classroom teaching learning is extremely suitable for implementation. As a result, students are more active in class and find it easier to absorb the knowledge,” said Pak Wan.
Recognizing Pak Wan’s enthusiasm and diligence, the school asked him to participate in Tanoto Foundation’s Pelita Guru Mandiri Training of Trainers held in the District’s capital, Selat Panjang, in February 2016. Pak Wan was selected as Local Facilitator of Tanoto Foundation in each of the Pelita Guru Mandiri training sessions in Pulau Padang.
From these sessions, Pak Wan was able to make simple learning kits such as the traditional children’s game of congklak made from coconut shell. Students can use these simple kits to learn multiplication and division. In the National Remote Areas Education Innovation Contest, out of 32 participating provinces, Pak Wan’s creation was selected as one of the six winners.