One of the key topics highlighted in our Longitudinal Remote Insights Gathering study on Children and Their Families’ Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic was the
challenges for children’s learning and education. This included the many struggles faced by students, teachers, and parents in shifting to different types of ‘distance learning’ and the education system’s overall lack of preparedness for implementing distance or digital learning on a larger or long-term scale.
Empatika was excited to be able to explore some of the gaps of the digital learning situation in more detail in a new study working once again as the local partner in Indonesia with Quicksand Design Studio (our second recent collaboration). This situational analysis study aims to provide insights on the digital learning landscape in Indonesia, using an equity lens to highlight key disparities that exist among different regions and socio-economic backgrounds. We combined secondary research, expert interviews with people from the Ministry of Education and Culture and EduTech Companies (such as Zenius and Sekolahmu), as well as virtual interviews with teachers, students, and parents from Papua, East Java, West Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and West Java. The report provides an overview of the access to and quality of digital learning along with insights on internet connectivity and affordability; the availability of digital learning devices; the relevance and content of digital platforms; and the digital skills of students and teachers.
Some of the insights from the study include:
The pandemic has resulted in an upsurge of platform and content innovations within the education space, by both the government and the private sector. However, little awareness and perceptions of low quality content have limited its uptake.
Private EdTech platforms are mostly focused on private schools and final-year school students. While some government programmes have come up to address private sector gaps, the needs of vulnerable communities are not yet adequately met, especially in the case of special needs students.
The shift of education outside the physical space in classrooms has led to challenges for monitoring teaching and learning performance.
Despite numerous initiatives to improve the poor internet connectivity across the archipelago, progress is slow and a large proportion of the population still does not have adequate internet connectivity to learn online.
Limited access to affordable quality internet and poor availability of appropriate digital devices makes learning from home less conducive for most students - especially those in remote and poor settings like 3T areas.
The Government's efforts to provide internet packages have faced limitations in design and implementation, limiting its Uptake.
Students have strong potential for digital learning, as many of them are 'digital natives'. Despite this, they lack adequate 'digital skills' that would prepare them for the 'digital economy'.
Many students struggle to adjust to this new way of learning, and their parents lack the capacity to adequately support them.
Inadequate support for teachers to transition to digital learning has posed challenges for them to adapt. This is accentuated by their poor formative training and limited pre-existing digital skills.
Government interventions focused on teachers, have thus far been top-down in their approach and largely failed to include teachers in their design and formulation.
Check out the full report here.