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Innovative methods bring quality schooling to poor children in Indonesia

Press release from UNICEF | March 22, 2008

Solo, Indonesia - Ifah, 12, wakes up every day before dawn to get ready for school, reading over her lessons as she packs her bag. For this sixth-grader, learning is fun. “I love school, especially English,” she says.
“I love school."
- 'Ifah.' student

Ifah, her parents and her five brothers and sisters live in the backstreets of Solo, in Central Java. Her mother works as a babysitter and her father operates a ‘becak’, or passenger tricycle.

For millions of children from poor families like Ifah’s throughout Indonesia, a quality education is all too often out of reach. But both of Ifah’s parents are encouraging her to keep on with her schooling, hoping that their daughter can make it beyond these streets.

‘Learning Communities for Children’

“It makes me so happy to see how my daughter loves to go to school and study. I hope one day she can go on and make something of herself,” said Ifah’s mother, Sri Aminatun.

Ifah is enrolled in a school that uses a UNICEF-supported method known as Creating Learning Communities for Children (CLCC), which emphasizes well rounded education and open, cooperative techniques.

“You can really see the difference in how the children react to this programme. Just look at their faces,” said the principal of Ifah’s school, Mr. Sardjito. “They are smiling in a mathematics class. That never happened when I was at school.”

Caring teachers, supportive parents

The programme also goes out of its way to involve parents, who donate their time and money to improve the school. Here, Ifah is encouraged to use her imagination and develop her own abilities in order to solve problems.

“The children aren’t afraid of the teachers. They are excited to ask a new question. I am always amazed at how excited these children are to learn,” said Ifah’s sixth-grade teacher, Suwarto.

Ifah and her friends will finish classes at the CLCC school when they graduate next year. The students all hope to pursue secondary education. The road ahead will still be long and arduous, but it will be paved with memories of caring teachers, supportive parents and a school that lets them dream.

Article has been adapted from a news release issued by UNICEF.

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