Mindful English Class at Sekolah Sungai: Part I

Project Child Indonesia collaboration with Cakap

In today’s globalized society, children have become a part of the global community. Growing up as digital natives, competition has become increasingly steep and children are required to develop additional skills from an early age. One of the most commonplace skills needed is English language proficiency, which is required to facilitate a wider interaction between societies and accelerate the exchange of information in the era of digital and information technology. 

The mastering of the English language has also been observed to improve the economy of a country and increase global competitiveness, however, Indonesia is still falling behind. According to the English Proficiency Index (EPI) 2021, Indonesia is in the 80th place out of the 112 countries surveyed, and in the 14th place of 24 Asian countries, which makes Indonesia fall in the category of “low proficiency” country. 

Root problems exist in the inequality to access English education. In major cities in Indonesia, English courses are widely available, however in urban poor and rural areas, most students attend government-funded state schools that teach English for only a few hours per week. In the riverside communities in Yogyakarta that Project Child Indonesia works with, children struggle to receive additional learning opportunities in the English language due to accessibility and opportunity barriers. This situation is unfortunate considering that Indonesia is regarded as one of the world’s most promising rising markets, and the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

For the 35th Batch of our River School program, Project Child Indonesia collaborated with PT Cerdas Digital Nusantara or Cakap to conduct a Mindful English Class at our 2 River Schools located in Winongo and Code River. The classes were conducted twice a week from October – December 2022, involving 41 children ages 5-12. Together with the English teachers from Cakap and 13 volunteers, children were taught the basic English language course using Cakap’s state-of-the-art curriculum, with topics covering family, friends, feelings, expressions, and many more. 

With the help of volunteers, the digital hybrid learning method was made possible. It allowed children to interact digitally with the teacher, while also physically learning with peers and doing engaging activities such as drawing and coloring. Although some students were initially shy, the fun learning activities allowed them to boost their curiosity, engaging in meaningful class participation. They even practiced their English with Project Child Indonesia’s foreign volunteers!

Overall, 18 sessions were successfully conducted, and the experience was very meaningful for the children at the River School. The important part of the learning process was honing the curiosity of the children to want to learn more and use more English in their everyday life. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn with Cakap’s amazing teachers and look forward to more collaborations ahead.
This article is part of a 2-part series on Project Child Indonesia and Cakap Collaboration. Read the second part of the article here.