Indonesia’s children have poor access to education – one-year course for young pre-school teachers

Indonesia, with its 210 million inhabitants, is ranked fourth among the most populous countries. The rural areas such as the Mentawei Islands and North Sumatra are among the poorest: no access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities characterize the rural areas. Schools are hardly accessible either.

School attendance under the most difficult conditions

Mentawei is extremely difficult to reach. In the rainy season the roads are impassable and the waves are too dangerous for a crossing by boat. Many children and young people in Mentawei suffer from malaria, cholera, skin diseases and thyphus. In most regions of Mentawei there is, if at all, only one primary school. Many of these
Schools are completely closed for a few months a year due to a chronic lack of teachers. In addition, the distances to school are simply too long and dangerous for children. A study has shown that the probability of school attendance decreases by 2.5 percent with every additional kilometre.

Support already for infants

At the continuing education conferences in 1990 in Jomtien, Thailand, and a decade later in Dakar, Senegal, it became increasingly clear that the promotion of development should start with small children. The organisation “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” also shares this view. The aim of the “Empowerment of Youth in Child Education Program” is to train young people in a one-year course who will subsequently work as pre-school teachers.

Elementary basic education

The target group here are children and young people aged between 4 and 12 years who are to be given elementary basic education in reading, writing and arithmetic. In addition, they take part in hygiene and health care courses. The children and adolescents are also taught values such as equal rights for men and women and the unprejudiced encounter between people of different ethnicities, religions and social strata.

A few thousand children reached

The first four training centres were set up in October 2000 and a further four were completed in October 2001. Several thousand children and young people have already taken part in programmes in the training centres of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.


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