The Jakarta Post
Trista Yudhitia Bintoro, 23, could easily secure a high-paying job at a multinational company with her Australian degree, but she instead chose to join the sixth batch of Indonesia Mengajar (Indonesia Teaches)
Over the weekend, she left Jakarta to teach elementary school children in the remote regency Musi Banyuasin, South Sumatra.
The graduate of Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, said she was in the final interview stage for a position at a Japanese company while awaiting the results of the Indonesia Mengajar program, initiated in 2010 by Paramadina University rector Anis Baswedan.
Karina Adelita, 22, chose a similar path, having resigned from her position as an auditor at the consultant company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Indonesia where she had worked for a year.
'I will be very proud of to say 'I have served my country',' she said.
Karina believes Indonesia Mengajar would be a life-changing experience in a completely different environment.
Widhi Wulandari, 22, a fresh graduate from Padajajaran University with a degree in international relations is also among the 74 young people beating 7,428 other applicants for the program.
She said she joined the program to gain experience before pursuing her personal dream to work at an international organization or multinational company.
'I am a fresh-graduate, I want to serve my country before thinking about money,' she said.
The Indonesia Mengajar movement, which has mobilized 293 young teachers to work with 1,738 local teachers to educate more than 22,000 students in 138 remote villages across the country since its inception, deployed its sixth batch of young educators on Sunday.
The movement was part of a campaign to create a sustainable and positive influence on the quality of education in the country's remote regions.
Trista, Karina and Widhi will be deployed respectively to Musi Banyuasin regency in South Sumatra, Muara Enim regency in South Sumatra and Sangihe Islands regency in North Sulawesi.
Some of the other 71 aspiring teachers will also be assigned to elementary schools in similar regions while others will head to Bawean Island, Gresik regency in East Java; Bima regency, West Nusa Tenggara; Fakfak regency in West Papua; Kapuas Hulu regency, West Kalimantan; Lebak regency, Banten; Rote Ndao regency, East Nusa Tenggara; and West Southeast Maluku regency, Maluku.
Indonesia Mengajar executive director Hikmat Hardono told The Jakarta Post that the organization was working hard to improve the quality of teachers and changes could be seen in the behavior of
'Initially we focused on the number of applicants but now we're focusing on making changes in the areas,' he added.
Hikmat said local teachers working with Indonesia Mengajar teachers were becoming more disciplined, creative and enthusiastic about education.
'In Lebak regency, Banten, three male teachers stopped smoking and used the saved money to buy laptops to keep up to date on the subjects they taught,' he added. (koi)
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