Editor’s Note: This article is contributed by Desiree Tay, a Year 2 NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine student and a first-time Project Sukacita participant. When I first received...
How do you transform the fourth largest education system in the world? With more than 50 million students, 2.6 million teachers, and 250,000 schools spread across an archipelago of more than 900 inhabited islands, Indonesia’s educational landscape is vast as it is complex. But with innovation and commitment, Tanoto Foundation continues to help transform the landscape by leveraging on two resources: teachers and technology.
Founded by Sukanto Tanoto and his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, the Tanoto Foundation seeks to contribute to the evolution and improvement of education through its ongoing efforts to improve teacher quality, school leadership, teaching and learning environments, as well as early childhood intervention.
In December 2017, the Foundation collaborated with the Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) to launch a report that discussed how to improve Indonesia’s educational system. The report sought to identify key challenges as well as successful interventions in the country. Among its many recommendations and insights, the report named the quality of teaching as well as issues of scalability as two challenges that need to be addressed if improvements were to take place. (Click here to read the report)
Apart from working with teachers, the Foundation is also working with other partners to scale its programmes. One such partnership is working with Ruangguru, a digital learning platform to give more people access to the teaching materials and expertise from the Foundation’s extensive knowledge base.
Ruangguru, which translates to “Teacher’s Room”, is a technology company in Indonesia that provides education-based services. With over 6 million users, the company founded in 2014 is committed to working with local governments and stakeholders such as the Tanoto Foundation to help educators, students, and even parents to run their activities more effectively and efficiently.
Ruangguru’s digital platform will be used to distribute the Foundation’s training modules, improve teachers’ capacities and competencies, as well as expand the programme audience and reach.
To date, over 8,000 educators in Indonesia have undergone teacher training via the Foundation’s face-to-face teacher training programme. With Ruangguru, any teacher with a smartphone can download the modules, use them in their classes, and share their stories with a large community of fellow educators.
Click the video below to learn more about Tanoto Foundation’s collaboration with Ruangguru. (English subtitles available)
Among its many initiatives, the Foundation’s Pelita Pendidikan programme aims to improve the quality of education in rural schools by providing support in three areas: the delivery of teaching and quality of the learning process, helping teachers improve their qualifications and competencies, and providing adequate school facilities and infrastructure.
Teachers are trained in topics such as development and implementation of the contextual learning approach. It also encourages collaborative learning between teachers and students, breaking the usual teacher-knows-all approach.
Instead of prodding her students to participate in class, Perni Herma Wirda, a teacher at the Pematang Pauh Elementary School in Tungkal Ulu Village, Jambi, now has the opposite challenge – selecting which student to answer when all of them are raising their hands. An alumna of the Foundation’s teacher training programme, Peni is now a role model to her students, inspiring them to learn, respond promptly, and even ask questions of their own. She encourages them to be unafraid and raise queries if they are unclear about the subject matter, enabling them to better understand the lessons at hand.
Another alumna of the programme is Sulastri Yerni, a teacher at Bukit Agung Elementary School in Pangkalan Kerinci in Riau Province. She now uses simple teaching aids such as pictures and cards, helping her to teach more effectively. This once-shy teacher has not only become more confident in class, she is now even winning awards in competitions organised by the Ministry of Education & Culture and the University of Riau.