Written by Adjeng Tunjung Pamase, Partnership Intern Project Child Indonesia
Entering the eighth month since the COVID-19 pandemic spread in Indonesia, Distance Learning or Pembelajaran Jarak Jauh (PJJ) activities still face various constraints. Numerous facilities and infrastructure are required to conduct a successful implementation of PJJ. In addition to the supporting equipment such as laptops and smartphones as well as internet data packages, supervision and guidance from parents are very essential to help to fill the gap in the limited role of teachers during PJJ activities. Conventional or offline school activities provide time for students to ask questions directly during or after class, PJJ tends to narrow the opportunity to interact with teachers in contrast to offline school. Most of the time, the subject materials are delivered to students let alone in the form of a document file, forcing students to read it and learn independently at home. Hence, the assistance of parents and or other substituting figures of teachers at home thus deemed vital for the success of children’s learning.
Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim, remarked that PJJ activities will run smoothly if parents are present to accommodate learning assistance for their children. Nevertheless, he also does not disregard the fact that not all parents have the same privilege to provide such learning assistance, both in terms of time and skills.
“My mom is busy working and taking care of my little sister, she is barely available to accompany me studying. My dad works all the time too,” said Lani, a 4th-grade elementary school student who lives on the banks of the Gajahwong River.
“I can not teach my child because elementary school materials these days are more difficult, different to mine years ago. I also work all day long, so there is very little time to assist my daughter when studying,” said the father of Meisya, a 4th-grade elementary school student in Kampung Kricak, by the Code River.
In acknowledgment of the presented problems on the field especially for those below the poverty line, the government through Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Muhaimin Iskandar initiated to establish “Gerakan Bangkit Belajar”, a movement that administers stations that assists students in doing PJJ activities, the assistance varies from internet network to volunteers with roles to give learning tutorials. This movement has been running since August 2020 with the priority of 3T areas (tertinggal, terdepan, terluar) or remote areas as the beneficiaries.
The Gerakan Bangkit Belajar then inspired many components of society to do similar things, from helping to provide study assistance, donating supporting equipment/facilities, to raising funds to provide internet data.
Participation and support from various parties to create a viable PJJ for children in Indonesia makes us at Project Child Indonesia desire to continue running the Online Learning Assistance project. This project comprises learning assistance conducted both offline and online by our volunteers to help ease the challenges of children and parents in the Sekolah Sungai communities in three river banks in Yogyakarta; Code, Gajahwong, and Winongo River during PJJ.
Realized since last September, we have been holding weekly learning assistance, conducted the donation of gadgets, and distributed internet data packages in collaboration with one of the internet data providers in Indonesia.
Nonetheless, we believe that there is still a lot to be improved from this Learning Assistance project to deliver a greater impact. One of our concerns is to provide training to volunteers on teaching methods (pedagogy), project management, and child psychology. We conclude this from the results of the program evaluation after one month.
“I still feel the need to learn how to approach children to be interested in learning and encourage them to be more courageous in expressing their opinions.” – Nani, a volunteer for the Learning Assistance program in Sungai Gajahwong.
Here, we need your help in optimizing the project to give a greater impact on the children of Sekolah Sungai. You can contribute by donating at kitabisa.com/campaign/bantuanbelajarss or purchasing Project Child Indonesia merchandise at bit.ly/merchandisePCI.
Together, we can bring out the best of distance learning activities for all Indonesian children. Like what has always been our belief that everyone can do good, you can too.