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Jakarta the best chance at an education for children from Indonesia's Papua province

Posted by On 6:16 PM

Jakarta the best chance at an education for children from Indonesia's Papua province

Email Jakarta the best chance at an education for children from Indonesia's Papua province

Updated May 20, 2018 07:29:27

Student Demira Yikwa studies in Jakarta. Photo: Year 12 student Demira Yikwa attends a school near Jakarta, 4,000 kilometres away from home. (ABC News: Phil Hemingway) Map: Indonesia

At a school on the outskirts of Indonesia's capital city, Demira Yikwa looks forward to graduation more than most Year 12 students.

It will mean she can go home for the first time in five years.

She is from the rem ote village of Tolikara in the highlands of Indonesia's Papua province.

The provincial government pays for her to attend school in Jakarta, 4,000 kilometres away, because it is her best chance at getting an education.

"Tolikara is left behind. From the first grade to the sixth grade there is only one teacher and he only ever asked us to draw," Demira says.

Along with 127 other students from remote Papuan villages, Demira attends class at Sekolah Anak Indonesia (Indonesian Children's School).

Her scholarship does not cover flights home so she must stay in Jakarta, even in school holidays.

"Of course I miss my parents, but my parents said education is more important. So I have to study first and then go back."

Students at Sekolah Anak Indonesia, a schoo   l, south of Jakarta. Photo: Children from remote Papuan villages are among the students who attend the school. (ABC News: Adam Harvey)

The school tries to make it easier for the young Papuans, most of whom had very little education before arriving here.

Hani Hamidah's biology class on natural selection is held outside on the grass.

"When we teach Papuan kids we need to relate our teaching to their situation in Papua," Ms Hamidah says.

"I've taught them about traditional food, and we talk about the natural resources in Papua and their culture. When they're given something they can relate to their enthusiasm increases."

The school's co-founder Shirley Doornik says the goal of the school is to close the gap between Papua and the rest of Indonesia.

"Many parents do not understand the meaning of education for their children and the developm ent of Papua itself," Ms Doornik says.

"In Papua the teachers are not always at school, and the students might not even go to the school because their parents ask them to work."

Two students at the Sekolah Anak Indonesia, south of Jakarta. Photo: Sekolah Anak Indonesia teaches its students about natural resources. (ABC News: Adam Harvey)

Ms Doornik says the school also lobbied local government to pay for the most promising students to continue their education.

"We convince the local government the future of Papua is in their hands. They have to convince the parents that the kids need to be educated," she says.

"We hope they'll go back to learn more a nd help build Papua."

Ms Doornik believes Papua needs an education system with a boarding school pattern, and says Sekolah Anak Indonesia has already set one up in the Asmat province.

"We think this is the right system to accelerate the education there."

Demira hopes to become an architect so she can return to Tolikara and help the area develop.

"First I want to build a school, and then I'll start to build other buildings," she says.

Topics: education, access-to-education, indonesia, papua

First posted May 20, 2018 07:28:11

Source: Google News | Berita 24 English

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