K/L Innovation

Papua Reads

Addressing The Literacy Challenges In Papua

In supporting the Indonesian government’s efforts to address the education gap in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, UNICEF with support from the Australian Government, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), has implemented an Education Program Initiative for remote and rural areas in Papua. The main objective is to test effective and sustainable approaches to improve the reading skills of early grade students in rural areas in the provinces of Papua and West Papua (Tanah Papua). The program is implemented in six districts, namely Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Mimika, Biak Numfor and Jayawijaya. The program is carried out in two main activity pillars; that is the school and community level and the second pillar at the government level.


General Overview: Context and Development Challenges

The baseline study was conducted in 180 schools spread across the six districts on which the results shows 50% of the students living in the remote and rural areas are not able to read.

1st Pillar:


Main Issue: Need to improve the quality and commitment of teachers and school principals. Limited availability of learning media and books has led to minimum competency in reading and writing.


Main Issue: Needs to improve the local community awareness on the importance of quality education and the need to encourage community participation in improving education services in their regions. 

2nd Pillar: Government

Main Issue: No supporting data available for the planning and budgeting of the education sector in the rural and remote areas of Tanah Papua which has led to the Education Sector development that mainly centered in the capital and districts. Stakeholders

UNICEF-DFAT and the implementing partners in the Education program collaborate with various parties such as:

  • Central Government: Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Provincial Government and particularly, Provincial Education Office and Regional Planning and Development Agency (BAPPEDA)
  • District Government and specifically, the District Education Office, BAPPEDA, Village Community Empowerment Service
  • Parliamentarians
  • School supervisors
  • Principals and teachers of the intervention schools


Program Impact

A midline study was conducted between March to April of 2017 involving 126 schools to measure the reading capabilities of early grade students (EGRA — Early Grade Reading Assessment) whilst the school’s progress is also analyzed and compared to the baseline. Data are collected from the intervention schools and the non-intervention schools, where the findings could show positive impact or even challenges in the entire program.  In general, below are the result on program achievement:


Program Strategy

This program has two target beneficiaries. The main beneficiaries are the children in 120 elementary schools across six Districts of Papua and West Papua Province, specifically in Biak, Jayapura, Jayawijaya, Mimika, Manokwari, and Sorong. While the intervention target beneficiaries of the program are policy makers, supervisors, school principals, teachers, school committees, and the public community.

To provide support tailored with the needs of school in rural and remote areas, an approach to improve the teacher’s capacity is carried out using two models:

Model A – a pool of trainers provide training at the cluster level and periodic technical support to the teachers in schools.

Model B – mentors are placed at school to directly train and provide technical support to the teachers in the school.

 Factors that led to the success of the Program:

  • Active and exciting teaching methods such as the use of songs, posters, cards, literacy games, and story books with local content.
  • Implementation of positive discipline. Teachers no longer using corporal punishment to discipline their students, thus students are more likely to come to come to school
  • Educational campaign to increase the interest and participation of the community
  • Increased commitment from government to address education issues in the rural and remote areas

Program Challenges:

  • Lack of teachers and/or uneven teachers’ distribution
  • High rate of teachers’ absenteeism
  • Inconsistent support from school principals
  • Low teacher motivation to change teaching practices and apply active and creative teaching methods
  • Monitoring systems are not well implemented
  • Parents and community lack of education awareness
  • Security and social conflict between community and teachers


Opportunity for replication


Program Replication and Development

In 2018, six districts have initiated the program replication with different mechanism. The program can be implemented using government funding, but there are also schools that implemented the program with their own funds.  While replication is initiated to schools within the intervention districts, it is also being initiated in other districts such as Sumba Tengah District and Supiori District.

Although program replication initiatives are facing challenges related to planning and budgeting mechanism in the government system, UNICEF and its Partner have been continuously giving technical support to ensure the smooth running of the program. With the current Presidential Decree No. 16/2018 in place, it creates another opportunity for the government to collaborate with CSOs through Type 3 self-management mechanism (Swakelola Tipe 3). UNICEF is currently collaborating with the National Public Procurement Policy Agency (LKPP) and Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) to disseminate this Presidential Decree to government in the district and provincial level as well as to the relevant CSO counterpart.



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