Rp 6.6 billion allocated to fight illiteracy
Bali administration has allocated Rp 6.6 billion (US$700,000) for illiteracy eradication programs this year, an official said Thursday.
The programs are targeting around 16,000 illiterate people in the province aged above 15 years old, said I Ketut Nasib from the provincial education agency’s division of non-formal and informal education.
For the basic program, learning reading, writing and arithmetic, targeting 7,000 people, the agency received Rp 2.52 billion from the central government.
“In this basic program, participants are expected to be able to complete their studies within six months by taking classes twice a week, totaling 144 hours of tuition,” Nasib said.
In addition to the basic program, there is also an advanced program with a budget of Rp 4.14 billion, targeting 9,000 people.
In this program, participants are taught skills. The type of skills presented to the participants could be different in each village, based on those most needed in the respective area. To complete the advanced program, the participants should complete 66 hours of learning.
The participants study in groups of 10 people. Every group is taught by one tutor.
“Once they have completed the advanced program, they could continue to other non-formal education programs comprising of Kejar Paket A, B and C,” Nasib said, referring to three levels of non-formal education that are recognized as equivalent to elementary school, junior high school and senior high school.
Data from the provincial education agency showed that the number of illiterate people in Bali amounted to 335,163 people.
Of this number, 7,995 are of productive age, i.e. between 15 to 24 years old, while 48,505 others are aged between 25 to 44 years old.
Nasib said the first phase of the program started in June and would continue with the second phase in September.
Social activist Luh Putu Anggraini from Lentera Anak Bali Foundation, which currently runs a program teaching poor and illiterate children in Denpasar, said the illiteracy eradication program was partly hampered by the urgency to make a living.
The foundation helps to teach 60 children aged between 6 to 15 years old. Some of them have never been to school, while some others had dropped out of school during the second or third grade of elementary school.
They are mostly children from poor villages in Karangasem, migrating to Denpasar and Badung to be beggars or porters in Badung traditional market.
“Out of the 60 children, only around half keep coming and attending classes regularly, while the rest of them prefer to make money by begging at the traffic lights or helping carry goods in the market,” Anggraini said.
“They have been exploited by their parents to work, to make money, so they put aside their education.”
She added that the foundation kept trying to persuade the children to return to the classes, including by providing food for them.
“We also make a kind of saving account for each person. Those who come to classes more often can have a greater amount of savings. They can take the money after a certain period of time.”