East Indonesia

A Southeast Asian country spanning the Indian and Pacific oceans, and comprising over 17,000 islands and 633 ethnic groups. After extensive research and planning, Plus Education is now working to address to an identified need in the peripheral islands of east Indonesia.

The internationalisation of Indonesia’s economy and tertiary sector, and participation in international communities such as ASEAN, has intensified the demand for English literacy education across the archipelago nation. However, significant barriers remain for children in rural and remote communities in the peripheral eastern provinces, increasing pre-existing inequalities in wealth and opportunity.

Indeed, the benefits of Indonesia’s strong economic growth and expanded internet penetration over past decades have not been distributed evenly. Rural and remote communities in the outer eastern provinces remain characterised by much higher rates of poverty, lower levels of development, and low internet penetration. Villages depend primarily on subsistence livelihoods in low-growth industries which are highly susceptible to climate change, such as food crop farming and fishing. Household incomes are therefore low and irregular, and unemployment is high, particularly among the youth population.

Despite provincial efforts to develop tourism and increasing international investment in resource projects across east Indonesia, local and indigenous populations continue to profit very little from these high-growth industries, which are dominated by foreigners and people from elsewhere in Indonesia, primarily Java. A key barrier to employment in these industries is lack of basic English skills.

Most local children are excluded from commercial and online English language programs due to affordability and connectivity limitations. Instead, their best hope is to learn English in school. However, schools in the peripheral provinces are under-funded and under-resourced, and teacher salaries are low.

Attracting and retaining suitably qualified and experienced teachers therefore remains a challenge, particularly in rural and remote schools. As such, up to 60% of teachers in schools are guru honorer (non-government casual teachers) who are less likely to be qualified and experienced, and whose poor employment conditions and pay reduces their motivation to teach, reflected in high teacher absenteeism. This inevitably impacts the quality of teaching practice and English literacy education in schools.

That’s why Plus Education is stepping in. We’re determined to make English literacy skills education and digital learning more accessible for children in the outer islands of east Indonesia, starting in the remote volcanic island of Banda. Through our Plus English program, we’ll work to accelerate the English literacy learning outcomes and language acquisition of local children, while also improving their digital competencies. This is key to improving their future prospects in our digital, global age.

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About Plus Education

Plus Education is the group operating name of registered Australian charity, The 40K Foundation Australia Ltd, and its subsidiary organisations, 40K Plus Education in India and Cambodia.

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