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Jakarta Post

'Indonesia is not just Java': Teacher in rural Papua pleads with Nadiem to listen

'Indonesia is not just Java': Teacher in rural Papua pleads with Nadiem to listen Schoolchildren gather around books in Kaibusene village, Mappi, Papua. ( Panca Aditra)
News Desk
Jakarta   ●   Thu, November 14, 2019 2019-11-14 07:50 540 87c6ce6469d83a6befcf58f50c00a21d 1 National Papua,Education Free

A teacher in the rural area of Mappi, Papua, has written an open letter to Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim asking him to pay more attention to the quality of school facilities in the village where she teaches.

The letter, titled "Miss, we are Afraid that the Table will Collapse," was written by Diana Christiana Da Costa Ati, a member of Rural Area Activator Teacher (GPDT) in Mappi regency. She was assigned to be a teacher in Kaibusene village ─ located around nine hours by boat from Mappi’s Assue district.

In the letter, which she posted on her Facebook account last week, she said her school’s classrooms did not have proper chairs or tables for the students. The students also lacked school uniforms, as well as books and pencils of their own, she said.

Diana said she decided to write the letter after a chair in the classroom, which she described as more of a storage room than a classroom, suddenly broke when a student tried to sit on it.

The students tried to write on the tables, but they creaked and scared the students.

“A student said to me, ‘Miss, we are afraid that the table will collapse.’ We no longer cared about the chairs and the tables; all of us decided to sit on the floor while [the students] learned to write the alphabet,” Diana wrote in the letter.

The school had only three classrooms to accommodate students from the first to the sixth grade. This meant students of two different grades had to share one classroom together.

Only two teachers were assigned to teach the approximately 50 students in the school. Diana has taught in the elementary school in Kaibusene since November of last year.

She also asked whether the School Operational Assistance (BOS) funds allocated by the government had been properly disbursed.

In her letter, Diana asked Nadiem to listen to her aspirations and concerns about the state of educational institutions for children in remote areas of the country’s easternmost province.

“Indonesia is not just Java. We [Papua] are also Indonesia,” Diana said, “Indonesia is not just big and advanced cities where app-based education programs can be easily accessed through [smartphones]. Those in remote areas who are still learning the alphabet are also Indonesia.” (gis)