KIAT Guru is helping to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and performance. Teachers’ allowances are tied to their service quality. The pilot started in July 2016, with implementation in 203 schools and impact evaluation in 270 primary schools in five underdeveloped districts. Communities verify teacher presence using mobile phone-based applications and evaluate teacher service performance using community scorecards.
Dawn has not yet broken in Hawir Hamlet in Nggilat Village, Manggarai Barat District in East Nusa Tenggara, that July morning. But Patria Helena “Helen” Delasmi, 9, and her brother Yanuarius Theodata Giarto or Gian, 6, were all set to go to school. While waiting for breakfast to be served, the siblings were playing with their three-months-old sister held by their grandmother. They have to wake up early every morning because the school is quite a distance away and getting there is almost like a cross-country adventure – a thirty-minute to one-hour walk through dirt and gravel road, passing through a forest, meadow and a river stream. But they have no choice as there is only one elementary school in Nggilat, SDI Hawir, which serves three hamlets and a neighboring village, Singkul. The school has been selected to take part in the KIAT Guru program to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to verify teachers’ attendance and evaluate service performance.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction and the District Government of Manggarai Barat. It is implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia.
As trails of sunlight broke into the kitchen, Helen and Gian were having breakfast of rice mixed with noodle. They were accompanied by their mother Veronica Sulastri, 27. Like many children in this village, Helen is shy toward strangers and she is not yet fluent in Indonesian as she is more accustomed to speaking local dialects. “She actually likes to read and she likes Mathematics, but she has difficulties in understanding Indonesian language,” Veronica says. She tries to help Helen with her study and homework every night, which is included in KIAT Guru's set of community service agreement.
KIAT Guru empowers communities to hold teachers accountable by agreeing to prioritize five to eight bottom-up service performance indicators to improve the student learning environment. In turn, communities, in this case parents, must also do their part at home, such as providing what children need, like a uniform and desk to study at home, and helping with homework. “But I can only help so much because I’m only a junior high school graduate,” Veronica said.
Helen’s father, Maksimus Sunardi, 31, helped her tie her shoes before going to school. Sunardi welcomes the KIAT Guru program in his children’s school and he actively takes part in the meetings between teachers and the Education User Committee (Kelompok Pengguna Layanan, KPL), which comprises parents and community figures. He hopes the government fix the village road as it worries him that his small children must go through such physical adventure to reach their school. “Some children in this village don’t want to go to school as it is too tiring,” he says.
As a farmer, the harsh terrain also limits market access. Sunardi sells different commodities, from candlenut to rice and coffee bean, which are collectively sent with trucks to traders in Reo sub-district in the neighboring district of Manggarai. The commodities prices are fluctuating, Sunardi says, in the mercy of the traders.
Helen climbed down the stairs in front of her house, which is divided into living area that is made of brick and a wooden kitchen in the back. A toilet and bathroom are built outside. A couple of friends were already waiting for the siblings to go to the school together. Some of the students live in the neighboring village of Singkul, even further away from the school. They would pass Helen’s house every morning and the sound of them running and talking will be her cue to leave the house.
More students joined Helen and other kids to walk to school. The students seem to have gotten used to the rocky and hilly road, as they walk fast and bounce in joy, even though some of them are still very young and some wear flip flops as they cannot afford shoes. During KIAT Guru’s initial meeting with the children, where they were asked for their recommendations for parents and schools. They wished for basic necessities that children in more developed areas take for granted. Some of them want shoes, food and a good uniform. Others wished for not having to look for firewood in the forest.
Helen and other students drew water from Turvale River into the jerry cans. Dry season makes the school’s front yard arid and dusty, so children are asked to bring water to dampen the ground and moisten the plants, as there is no water source available at school. During dry season, the river is only an ankle deep. But in times of heavy rains, it will overflow up to two-meters high and the children are sometimes forced to stay home. When the water subsides, Helen’s father, Sunardi says, he and other fathers would carry their children on their shoulders to pass the river.
Students walked up the rocky path in the forest and each carried their jerry cans of water to school. SDI Hawir Elementary School occupies a three-hectares area, but is in poor conditions, with cracked floors and ceilings, dirty walls and broken blackboards. There is no available water source, and there is only one toilet, a rickety bamboo stall with a hole in the ground that is used by 116 students and their 11 teachers.
A truck passed the students who walked to the school. The rocky village road makes it impossible for regular cars to pass through, so trucks serve as public transportation between villages. The back of the truck is modified so it accommodates benches for passengers to sit on and they put a canopy above the truck. People can usually hear the truck long before it is seen, as the drivers play loud house music to entertain passengers, and themselves.
Helen passed a meadow on her way to school. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she said, as translated by her father, “midwife.” Perhaps she learns from the hardship her mother had to endure when delivering her children. There is no clinic and midwife in remote Hawir; the closest health center is in Rego Village, some 7 kilometers away. Veronica had a traumatic experience with a traditional midwife when giving birth to Helen. So for Gian’s delivery, she opted to go to Rego, which meant walking for one hour carrying her huge midsection as the rocky road makes it difficult for regular cars and ambulance to go through. Maternal mortality cases are rare now, but the harsh terrain creates medical complications, such as bleeding. For her youngest child, Veronica chose to stay with her sister in the district’s capital city of Labuan Bajo for two months until she gave birth.
It was 7.15 a.m. and the students finally arrived at SDI Hawir. All of the teachers have also come. While waiting for the class, some of the students played with their friends outside while others went straight to their classrooms to do their cleaning task. Fifteen minutes later, the bell rang and everyone ran inside the classes to start the day’s lesson. Helen sat in the back of the room along with other third graders. In the baseline study of KIAT Guru pilot, Helen was “not meeting the basic ability” for Bahasa Indonesia and Mathematic. Nevertheless, she is eager to study and very active in class, carrying her parents’ high hopes that she would graduate from university.
Photo: Fauzan Ijazah
It was almost 7.30 a.m. and the principal and the teachers at Mboeng Elementary School (SDN Mboeng) in remote Kaju Wangi Village, Elar Subdistrict in Manggarai Timur, East Nusa Tenggara, took turn to take each other’s photograph with a cellular phone.
They were not about to update their social media’s profile pictures. Instead, the photo session was part of KIAT Guru program to improve education service delivery in remote villages by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and the District Government of Manggarai Timur. It is implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia.
Teacher’s attendance has been an issue in this village, as some of them often only appear at 9 a.m., or 90 minutes after the class is supposed to start, if they come at all. An unannounced visit in SDN Mboeng on Oct. 31, 2016 showed that one in six or 17 percent of teachers who were scheduled to teach were absent. The reason for their absence was to attend a training in a neighboring subdistrict. This figure is consistent with The World Bank survey of 270 schools in October 2016 and March 2017 that indicated the rate of teacher absence stands at 25.4 percent. An earlier survey by Analytical and Capacity Development Partnership (ACDP) in 2014 indicated that the rate of absenteeism among teachers in remote school (19.3 percent) is double the national rate (9.4 percent).
In lights of this issue, the KIAT Guru pilot began in July 2016 and was implemented in 203 primary schools in five underdeveloped districts. The intervention program is using three models: community empowerment; community empowerment and tying teachers’ allowances to their attendance; and community empowerment and tying teachers’ allowances to their service quality.
Sejak April 2016, SDN Mboeng has carried out the second intervention model over where the teachers and the principal have to clock in at 7.30 a.m. at the latest and clock out at least at 12.30 p.m. using the camera app. The community then verify teachers’ presence and evaluate teacher’s service performance using community scorecards. This model worked wonders in reducing the rate of teacher’s absenteeism and late attendance.
“In the past three months, none of the teacher was late. And it trickles down to the students. Seeing their teachers disciplined, the children are now in order, too. They have better manner and they rarely come late anymore even though many of them have to walk for 30 minutes to one hour to get to school,” said Andreas Jemahang, KIAT Guru cadre whose son also studies at the elementary school.
Along with the Education User Committee (Kelompok Pengguna Layanan, KPL), which includes nine members comprising parents and community figures, Andreas evaluates teachers’ attendance and service performance based on a set of service indicators or “promises” that were agreed with community members beforehand. Based on the recommendations from children, whom KIAT Guru team consulted before launching the pilot, the promises range from coming to school on time, to not using corporal punishment on children and being more creative in teaching, such as using visual aids and holding classes outdoor.
As teachers improved, students have too, as shown by a baseline student learning assessment and a diagnostic test in Bahasa Indonesia and mathematics.
“The baseline student learning assessment was conducted in September 2016 and it showed how six 3rd graders did not fare well in reading. In June, there was a diagnostic test on these students and the results were exhilarating. The six can now read well, two of them met the basic standard for second grade, two fit the third grade standards and one even passed the fourth grade standard,” said Karolina Lantu, 3rd Grade homeroom teacher.
Sabina Rantos, a sixth grader at the school, said she liked it that now teachers conduct classes outside, such as for science class.
“It’s more fun,” said Sabina, who have to walk two hours every day to go to school and from school.
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017 Author: Hera Diani
One July morning in SDI Hawir elementary school in remote Ndari Hamlet, Nggilat Village in Manggarai Barat District, East Nusa Tenggara, the fifth graders were studying about Catholicism, but the material was beyond memorizing the Bible verses by heart.
The teacher, Quintus Kalis, began the class by asking the students whose responsibility it was to cook in their houses. The children replied in unison: “Mom!”
“What about cleaning the house? And other household chores?” he asked again, and was met with a similar response. “Mom! The girls!” the kids said.
“Boys don’t help at all? What if your mom is ill? You don’t eat?” he pressed. This time, the 45-year-old man was met with silence.
Smiling, he went on to tell the class that household chores are not necessarily the duty of girls as both girls and boys are equal and have the same ability.
During our chat outside the classroom, Quintus said that divisive gender roles have been his concern for a long time, even though he might not be aware of what the phrase means.
“I observed the communities and wondered how come men just sit around waiting for their coffee to be served. Boys are playing all day while girls have to help with house chores since early on. It made me uncomfortable,” he said. He then made a promise to himself to teach values of gender equality to students when he became a teacher.
Originally from Colol Village in Manggarai Timur District, Quintus graduated from teacher college STKIP Keuskupan in Ruteng, the capital of neighboring Manggarai District. He worked at a parish for five years after graduating before teaching religion at a junior high school in Pateng, Manggarai Timur. That was when he began to infuse gender equality in religion class.
“Teaching religion is not only about praying or faith, but also cleanliness, manner,” he said, adding that he even taught the students how to cook rice.
“More important thing is, we have to walk the talk and be a role model. We can teach them how to sweep the floor clean, but if we don’t set the example, they won’t do it.”
Those principles are implemented at his own home, where his two daughters as well as his son have to do chores. Quintus is not bothered by the fact that his wife, who is also a teacher, brings home bigger paycheck as she became a civil servant earlier than he did.
“My eldest daughter asked me ‘why is Mom’s salary higher than yours?’ I told her that we are actually paid the same, but I gave mine to her Mom,” he said, laughing.
After teaching junior high school for 17 years, he was transferred to SDI Hawir in 2013. He found the community in Ndari Hamlet more laid back compared to that in Pateng.
“In Pateng, if we passed people’s houses at the time where we’re supposedly at school, people would say, ‘Teacher, why so late? What about our kids in school?’. But here, they said, ‘Teacher, come drink coffee with us’,” he said.
The attitude has gradually shifted, he said, ever since KIAT Guru launched a pilot in Nggilat Village, Manggarai Barat to improve education service delivery by empowering communities to report on teachers’ attendance and service performance.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) and the District Government of Manggarai Barat. It is implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia.
Quintus said the program has ‘awakened’ the community and the teachers, mediating them to create better solutions to improve the students’ learning.
He said he was glad that KIAT Guru made children the core of the program, consulting with them first and foremost before the pilot started by asking children to assess learning support provided by their teachers and the community members. It was in line with his own understanding that adults should enter the children’s mind and their world instead of treating them like object.
“We have to think of them as our own children. Enter their world, get to know them as each of them is unique and have different levels of ability. If we bring them into our ideal mind, we would lose our temper,” he said.
“If we’re too hard on them, they would be too scared to learn. When the recess bell rings and they scream for joy, don’t be too happy, because that means our class is like a prison for them.”
Alfiana Pamut was standing in front of an overwhelmingly male audience at SD Inpres Golo Popa, an elementary school in Manggarai Timur District in East Nusa Tenggara, one of the poorest regions in Indonesia. The young woman, who heads the school committee, with a loud and clear voice, read the scores given to each teacher in the school for their service performance that month.
As I sat at the back of the room, observing how the meeting went, I could not help being impressed by the scene.
In a different context, citizens making demands on teachers to provide better services may be a normalcy. But SD Inpres Golo Popa is located in Compang Necak, a very remote village some three hours of grueling drive from the nearest town. In isolated villages like Compang Necak, teachers tend to be very well respected. But precisely because of the remoteness of the areas, supervisions over the teachers by government officials are at a bare minimum, if any. A UNICEF study in 2012 revealed that the lack of supervision resulted in higher teacher absenteeism. An unannounced survey by ACDP in 2014 found that one in five teachers was absent from remote schools, or double the national rate.
At SD Inpres Golo Popa, a World Bank unannounced survey in 2016 found that one in seven teachers was absent from the school. None of the 51 students tested (of 61 registered students) achieved their grade-level competencies in either Indonesian language or mathematics. Such was the disheartening situation before KIAT Guru pilot started.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction and the District Government of Manggarai Timur. Implemented by Yayasan BaKTI, with technical support from the World Bank and funding from the Government of Australia, the pilot aims to improve teacher presence and service performance.
KIAT Guru empowers communities to hold teachers accountable by agreeing to prioritize five to eight bottom-up service indicators to improve student learning environment. In some pilot schools, the community empowerment is combined with pay for performance as part of a teacher’s income, based either on the school committee’s verification of teacher’s presence, or the committee’s score on teacher’s service performance. Comprised of nine members – six parents of students and three community leaders – the committee members are elected by the parents and community members. The committee in Golo Popa comprise of five women.
In SD Inpres Golo Popa, the teacher service performance scores evaluated by the school committee determined the amount of remote area allowance that teachers receive. For example, as the principal received a score of 91, she would receive 91 percent of her remote area allowance for the respective month. Since the total amount of the remote area allowance is the same with their base salary, the committee’s score is a high-stake for teachers.
After Alfiana completed reading the service performance scores for all seven school teachers, the principal and parents were asked to respond. The school principal Ester Esem questioned her score. She had carried out her job well by supervising teaching and learning activities and teacher presence every day.
Confidently, Alfiana responded that the school committee had checked the document, conducted observations, and interviewed students before scoring. The committee found that Ester’s supervision was not optimal. In the teacher presence form, two teachers marked themselves as being present, although they were supervising tests at other schools that day.
When I asked the school committee members during lunch break on how they could be so brave, they said it was the responsibility of their heart. They had to be fair to teachers, but also be accountable to the wider community. In a separate talk, Ester, the school principal, confided that the committee had done a good job in holding teachers accountable. As a female principal, she said, male teachers would not listen to her. But now she has all the committee members conducting the monitoring on her behalf.
While what I witnessed in Golo Popa may be one of the best-case scenarios, it is still very encouraging to see that after only three months of community facilitation, the school committe could already hold the principal and teachers accountable to the service indicators that they had agreed upon. It may take longer for other communities to achieve a similar level of social accountability, but Golo Popa shows that it is definitely possible. The KIAT Guru pilot is currently implemented in 203 very remote primary schools in five districts. Results from the pilot aims to provide the Ministry of Education and Culture with policy recommendations.