More Youths Volunteer to Teach Students in Remote Regions

The Jakarta Post, page 3

In the Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar (GIM) foundation, the country’s youth are able to channel their passion for education through volunteering as teachers in remote areas. GIM send a new batch of educated youth every six month to teach for a year at elementary schools in remote areas across the archipelago. It has sent 12 groups since November 2010.

One of the youths, Rahmat Danu Andika, said he learned how to gain the trust of locals during his assignment at Pelita village in South Halmahera, North Maluku. He said it was initially hard to make the children listen to his instruction and it was even harder because he was in the first batch of the program. The students in remote areas have different cultures.

Patrick Samuel, who was in the ninth batch, said, he was mostly challenged to share his knowledge with children in Waya Village, South Halmahera. He said the children and people in the village were enthusiastic to learn, but the most challenging was how to pass the baton of the teaching method to local schools so his presence will still be felt even when he is no longer there. He added that, after spending 12 month in the village, the village’s schoolteachers and other member of the community had shown positive changes gradually.

GIM’s basic education method for children focuses on community and school involvement, behavioral change and long-term individual development. To become an educator at GIM, one has to undergo several screening stages that thousands youths participate in. GIM will select 40 to 50 educators for every batch.

The country’s youth have shown increasing interest in the program, with nearly 10,000 applicants registered to be teachers for the latest batch, more than the 8,249 who applied for the previous batch 12.

The foundation – established by former education and culture minister Anies Baswedan, who is currently running as a Jakarta gubernatorial candidate – has deployed 713 young educators to teach more than 30,000 people in 22 provinces. Most of the areas are impoverished and remote, such as Rote Ndao in East Nusa Tenggara, Fakfak in West Papua, Gresik in East Java, Kapuas Hulu in West Kalimantan and Lebak in Banten.

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