Alor govt strives to improve education
The Alor regency administration in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has responded to the Community-based Education Information System (SIPBM) in Northwest Alor district, where more than 470 children have dropped out of school due to economic hardship, limited facilities and lack of interest in education.
This year the government has built 19 new schools as part of its efforts to bring education closer to the community, as well as to reduce the school dropout rate. The additional number of schools comprise five senior high schools, four vocational schools and nine junior high schools.
“Alor is one of the outer islands of NTT, so the central government has paid special attention to improving education in border areas and outer islands,” said Alor Education Office head Semeon Bayang.
Alor’s topography, which is hilly and dotted with many islands, is a classic issue of providing access to education. Besides that, villages that are sparsely located often become obstacles to setting up new schools.
“Several elementary schools are required to support the establishment of a junior high school. The problem is the distance between one village to another, which is quite far. To deal with the matter, the government has added a number of one-roof junior high schools [Satap],” Bayang said in Kalabahi, Alor, recently.
As of the midpoint of this year, Alor is home to 147 elementary schools, 80 state junior high schools, 16 state senior high schools, 14 vocational schools, three technical vocational schools, two state Aliyah Islamic schools, 144 PAUD preschools and 55 kindergartens.
“When compared to other sectors, the government has paid more attention on education, likely because the regent was a teacher so he has prioritized education in development,” said Bayang.
The government has set a target that in the next two years, there will no longer be problems related to education infrastructure. It has planned to set up 101 PAUD preschools and 68 kindergartens by 2014.
In addition, the government will improve the participation level of Package A, B, and C education programs. It will also improve the level of special education from 89.73 percent to 95.48 percent.
“In regards to the standard of teachers, we hope there will be efforts to raise their competency level from 24.53 percent to 40.06 percent, while the percentage of teachers meeting education qualifications will rise from 25.47 percent to 45.47 percent,” said Bayang.
As more new schools are built, educational access is expected to be available in isolated villages.
“For needy students who could not continue their education, the government will provide scholarships through School Operational Assistance [BOS], Village Funds Allocation [ADD] and National Program for Community Empowerment [PNPM],” said Bayang.
According to him, based on SIPBM data more than 60 percent of children are forced to drop out of school due to economic factors.
“This is because each household usually consists of three to five children or more. If a family has only two children, parents’ interest to send their children to school would be higher. Having many children means others must be sacrificed,” said Bayang.
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