Ashoka Indonesia Report (1) ・ Change-making in Education

With some members from the Ashoka Indonesia ‘Change Team’

Hello! It’s Maho again!

So after participating in the XChange, I was busy learning from Ashoka Indonesia!

Here are some things I have been doing:

◆20–21st: Meeting in a nice lodging in the mountains of Banding, Indonesia working with the team for initiative Sekolah Pembaharu (aka the Change Team)

◆23rd: Attending the networking night wth, a startup working with increasing the impact of social projects through social media utilization.

◆24th: Visiting Ashoka Fellow Mr. Nurokhim and his school ‘Sekolah Master’ in Depok

I will try to make each part of the highlights on separate blog entries because there is just too much to share with you all :’’)

So here is the first part: working with the Sekolah Pembaharu team!

The amazing view from the villa, which was our venue for the 2 days meeting

What is ‘Sekolah Pembaharu’?

In the Ashoka Indonesia team, they are running a pilot program called ‘Sekolah Pembaharu’. It is a collaboration project between Surya Institute by Yohanes Surya and PeaceGen by Irfan Amalee— Both of whom are Ashoka fellows from Indonesia.

Surya Institute encourage a generation of students to excel in science and math, and pursue professions drawing on these skills to help Indonesia progress as a nation. He encourages not only students, but teachers, as they hold the key to nurturing the nation’s budding scientists. Ultimately, he seeks to achieve a societal reformation in science/math education; from a feeling of dread of these feared subjects, to an attitude of how science/math is embraced by many/all in their day-to-day activities. (extracted from

PeaceGen aims to develop peace education modules and trains peace agents from primary schools and junior high school students throughout Indonesia. The incredibly viral program that began with zero funding has organically grown into a community of over 10,000 young people who set up their own peace education training from Aceh to Sulawesi and around 30,000 “peace makers”.

The idea of the pilot program ‘Sekolah Pembaharu’ is to allow schools already engaged in either of the fellows programs to receive both programs.

This will make sure that all schools which had received programs for either of the fellows can access both dimensions of human development; both the mind and the heart, thereby reaching a more holistic learning experience.

Yes, Ashoka work is always about collaboration in order to accelerate social impact :)

Aside from the conversations in the meetings, I really enjoyed exchanging opinions about the education and the society in Japan and Indonesia! The education situation in Japan and Indonesia are very different. Indonesia but my key realization was not that, it was more of ‘how much I can learn about advancing education in Japan by learning from education in Indonesia.’

Some key realizations…

Spiritual Education

Probably as one of the consequences of putting too much attention to materialistic economic growth is the way how we Japanese have become too controlled ad ‘programmed’. We so often do good things for others not because we genuinely want to, but because that is what has been laid out as rules to follow. People are programmed not to steal in Japan, but it seems like less and less people know how to help others if they are in need; we are simply not programmed for that.

Why is it that too many Japanese have lost their ‘heart’ in the process of our economic growth? It is so sad.

Is it the education, that has disabled us to use our full potential to contribute to others, seek happiness for ourselves and define our own success paths?
How can we make sure that all children in Japan understand why they want to learn and define their own lives and happiness?

In Indonesia, it’s easy for students to understand that they are learning because they want to become better people. There is already a fundamental ground in the culture that all humanity live with the values of becoming a better human being. It’s because of its culture that embraces and values religion, but it is for sure an important part of the learning process as a human. So then the question becomes, how can we create a learning environment deeply rooted in values development for the Japanese Children?

With Irfan from PeaceGen

Anti- bullying System

This was such an interesting topic. While engaging in late night conversations in the villa I learnt that in Indonesia there is an anti bullying initiative by the government. Official monitors go around the school with a checklist of education environment of each schools which include facilities, quality of teaching etc. In the checklist criteria there are

Why is it that in Japan we are only still evaluating schools by the test scores — a very limited perspective and approach to education?

I was also scared after listening to this. I don’t know how many people in Japan are knowledgable enough to be entitled as good monitors even if a similar monitoring system had existed in Japan.

With Team members from Surya Institute & Initiatives of change

Systemic and Holistic change in the education field

As we see in the collaboration between the two institutions whose approach is very different from each other, the ideal state is to gather a strong network of educational innovators and leaders who specializes in their respective fields, and collaborate through their strengths.

The education issues in Japan are very complex; overworked teachers, issues with new curriculum implementation, lack of experiential learning, too much knowledge base learning, school organizations and management crisis, bureaucracy etc etc. So to enable systemic change through a diverse team of educational innovators is the key to enabling a bigger change.

Some guiding questions on my mind now

(copied from my notebook)

  • How can we create an education to foster learning for the purpose of contribution?
  • How can we make the ‘I want this in my school’ effect through contextual implementation of educational innovations?
     What are the good case practices and where are they showcased in Japan?
  • How does the demographics look like if we map out all the innovative educational institutions and organizations?
  • How can Japan find a method to assess bullying and also the process of learning in schools?
  • What roles should Ashoka be playing in order to bring systemic change in the education field?
  • How can / should innovative educational initiatives be scaled in the context of the Japanese society?

Thank you for reading, I will be back with more!!

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.