- Title: Indonesia's future prosperity threatened by lengthy COVID-19 school closures
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 10, 2021) (REUTERS) ENTRANCE TO BALI STREET MUMS AND KIDS FOUNDATION VARIOUS OF CHILDREN STUDYING ONLINE TOGETHER STUDENT, NI KADEK SURIANI, STUDYING SURIANI WEARING MASK SURIANI WRITING ON BOOK DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 17, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) 13-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, NI KADEK SURIANI, SAYING: "I almost dropped out of school because of economic problems, my parents didn't work, my mother and father didn't work and I had time selling tissues at traffic lights, then I was taken to this foundation to be helped so that I could go to school again." DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 10, 2021) (REUTERS) STUDENT, NI LUH NAEL, DOING HOMEWORK NAEL DOING HOMEWORK WITH SMARTPHONE DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 17, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) 13-YEAR-OLD SCHOOL DROPOUT STUDENT, NI LUH NAEL, SAYING: "My grandmother has always been trying to support me to go to school until the sixth grade, even though she doesn't have enough. I want to reach high school at least, but my grandmother did not have the money to send me to high school." DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 10, 2021) (REUTERS) NAEL AND FRIEND LOOKING AT SMARTPHONE NAEL READING FROM SMARTPHONE CLASSROOM FACILITY AT FOUNDATION SIGN BOARD READING (Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese): "BALI STREET MUMS AND KIDS FOUNDATION" (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) PRESIDENT OF BALI STREET MUMS AND KIDS FOUNDATION, AMANDA RAFIANI, SAYING: "The main reason is that they can't pay for books, because during this pandemic they have to take exams per semester, they have to pay for the exams, they have to pay for books and some of them are already studying in private junior high schools and have to pay tuition fees, during the first year of the pandemic they cannot afford to pay tuition fees because their parents' livelihoods have stopped and therefore they could not receive report cards. They (the students) also have limited access to mobile phones and internet, I think that's the main cause. The schools are still collecting money and asking for their tuition fees (during the pandemic)." JAKARTA, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 10, 2021) (REUTERS) PERSON SPEAKING WITH EDUCATION EXPERT FLORISCHA AYU TRESNATRI TRESNATRI LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (English) EDUCATION EXPERT FROM SMERU RESEARCH INSTITUTE, FLORISCHA AYU TRESNATRI, SAYING: "The consequences of students dropping out of school, of course they wouldn't be able to gain quality education and this will affect their future in which they wouldn't be equipped with significant skills and also knowledge to be able to compete in the workforce and this will in turn affect their earnings." DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 11, 2021) (REUTERS) NAEL'S GRANDMOTHER, NI NENGAH MAYOR, WALKING OUT FROM HOUSE MAYOR FOLDING COCONUT LEAVES WHILE TALKING TO NAEL MAYOR FOLDING COCONUT LEAF MAYOR LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Balinese) 60-YEAR-OLD GRANDMOTHER OF CHILD STUDYING IN BALI STREET MUMS AND KIDS FOUNDATION, NI NENGAH MAYOR, SAYING: "In this coronavirus pandemic situation we don't have money. It's hard for people like us to eat, how are we going to continue (schooling)? But if someone helps, we will continue, if not we'll just let her (grandchild, Ni Luh Nael) stay at home." VARIOUS OF NAEL AND MAYOR FOLDING COCONUT LEAVES
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 07:54
- Keywords: Bali Street Mum and Kids Foundation COVID-19 Indonesia children closure coronavirus demographic dividend dropout education pandemic school shelter
- Location: DENPASAR, JAKARTA, INDONESIA
- City: DENPASAR, JAKARTA, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Education,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EV3VHAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ni Kadek Suriani was looking forward to starting her second year of junior high school last year, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Then her parents lost their jobs and she was forced to help scratch a living on Indonesia's holiday island of Bali.
"I almost dropped out of school because of economic problems, my parents didn't work, my mother and father didn't work and I had time selling tissues at traffic lights, then I was taken to this foundation to be helped so that I could go to school again," the 13 year-old recalled at the headquarters of local charity Bali Street Mums, who now sponsor her studies.
Experts say a pandemic-induced economic shock and closing of schools for more than a year has been devastating blow for many of Indonesia's 68 million students.
Indonesian schools were closed for 55 weeks to August 4, compared with 25 weeks in Vietnam, 37 weeks in Japan and 57 weeks in the Philippines, according to World Bank data.
Many schools remain closed in Indonesia, with the remainder open for limited hours.
With schools shut, Indonesia developed an emergency, simplified curriculum and set up online lessons along with internet credits to help families defray the costs of distance learning. Educational TV and radio programmes augmented the distance learning.
Researchers and social workers told Reuters the assignments were often rudimentary at best.
Indonesia has widespread internet coverage but Florischa Ayu Tresnatri, a researcher at the Jakarta-based SMERU Institute, said access to online lessons was plagued by patchy connectivity. Many families only had one basic smartphone, often needed by a parent for work, she added.
Teacher absenteeism and the ongoing cost of school fees and supplies were other reasons for students struggling to learn, or opting out of classes altogether during the pandemic, experts said.
Tresnatri said the learning deficit was concerning for elementary school students, and the future prosperity of Indonesia, as it threatens to undermine Indonesian President Joko Widodo's plan to create a top-five global economy by 2045 driven by a skilled workforce.
Before the pandemic, and despite going to school for more than 12 years, the average Indonesian student had effective learning for only 7.8 years, the World Bank said. That fell to 6.9 years by July this year according to the Bank's most optimistic modelling.
The loss of learning during the pandemic will cost students at least $253 billion in lifetime earnings, the report estimated.
Indonesia's education ministry acknowledged school closures had a "great impact on children's learning results".
"It is a global phenomenon, not only in Indonesia," it said in a statement. "We are currently encouraging schools to start a limited face-to-face learning so that children will get back to school, interact with their teachers and friends, and have their spirit of learning rebuilt."
(Production: I Wayan Sukarda, Yuddy Cahya Budiman, Heru Asprihanto, Angie Teo)
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