Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Education for All

One of the very basic human right is, actually, the freedom to pursue a better life. A way to have a better life can be paved through education. The education helps people to have a better knowledge and skill to improve their living standard. Indonesia is trying to give education for all youngsters through the program of "Wajib Belajar."  Wajib Belajar means that students should study, without the burden of school fees. Last year, the government tried to implement the program to the Senior High School as well. The program is only applicable "with difficulties" in the public school, not touching the private schools. And, how about those street children, or children who came from a very low income family, who cannot even afford to buy uniforms and shoes to go school? They also have the right to pursue a better life through a better education, don't they?

Some private institutions tried to help these children. Through the Indonesian Heritage Society I encountered the activity "Les enfants de la rue". There is also "Sekolah Darurat Kartini" by the Twins Rossy and Ryan. We also acknowledge Gerakan Nasional Orang Tua Asuh (GNOTA). Yet, in GNOTA it is more in financial support for students through supporting parents. Last year I happened to visit a school named Sanggar Anak Akar. They call it an autonomous school. It was started in 1994 to offer education for the street children, but then it was developed into a larger urban community. In the year 2000 it became an independent nonprofit organization separated from the main foundation, and in 2009 it became an autonomous school. Their schooling program is a bit different from the formal school, it was designed to help the children attain their right to get an education. The target focus of the students is now youngsters aged between 12 to 16 years old.

video

Last year, I came with students and teachers from a private school where I am working now. The economic background of the students in my school is off course much...much better than of those children in Sanggar Anak Akar. Yet, we manage to learn something from them too. At that time, they taught our students to play percussion using used materials like an empty plastic bottle, an empty can, etc. Through interaction between students, we learned how they were also eager to learn by themselves, and how they manage to be creative and productive through the limited facilities.

The internet is actually helping people to gain more knowledge without a big expense. But, that is only applicable for those who have the access into the internet. If, we do not have an adequate connection, there will be another problem but at least we can open our views and enriching our knowledge. That is also the way of self development that those children from the Sanggar Anak Akar is trying to do. This year, we can have the access into their website. I see that they are preparing a blog, hopefully for those children to explore more into their own writing talents, or showing out their works through blogging. The most important thing, the existence of the website means that they have a connection into the internet.

Earlier this year we heard that the land used for the school is needed for urban development. The school needs to move. Hopefully, they are able to cope with their problems and can continue to develop the children who come to their school. When they have got the chance to get their right to an education, we can think of a better generation to build the nation, and it could probably also mean to build a better world.

Photos: Retty
Video: Andreas