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Indonesian Government Admits to Low Literacy in Many Villages

Indonesia's literacy rate is still low

The Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemendikbud) has said that many elementary school students in isolated villages cannot read and have greater difficulties following their lessons.

According to the Education Ministry’s Head of the Curriculum Centre, availability of books for first graders in these regions is still limited. This then results in an issue for the teachers, with them not being able to communicate materials to the students.

Literacy skill has become one of the points that will be tested during the minimum competency assessment initiated by the Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim. Indonesia’s own literacy rate is still bad, based on a study by Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), that showed Indonesia ranking 60 out of 61 countries in terms of literacy interest.

Awaluddin posited that the problem of poor literacy in rural areas is not only a matter of children’s interest in reading, but also stressed the importance of access to books. Attempting to tackle the issue, he said, Kemendikbud has invited the Australian government to find solutions so that students in these regions do not get left behind.

One of the ideas is to create an experiment by building a reading garden in several areas such as West Sumatra, North Kalimantan, and West Java, where students are encouraged to read a book after school. In addition, teachers also help students understand the subject matter using regional language in order for students to gain a better understanding.

The legal aspect, according to Awaluddin, is also worth noting. He said the implementation of Law No. 3 Year 2017 on conversations system needs to be fixed. This assessment reflects in the publication of books whose material does not match Pancasila and has hints of radicalism.
As for the curriculum that Nadiem has asked to develop, Awaluddin said that there is a picture of the concept. The curriculum will be arranged so that students can adapt to the world of work and future progress, though details of the implementation have not been explained yet.

Source: CNN Indonesia
Image: Taman Bacaan Nasional

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