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BREBES DISTRICT HELPS OVER 1,200 OUT-OF-SCHOOL CHILDREN TO GET BACK TO SCHOOL

The Government of Brebes district in cooperation with the Australian Government celebrated a significant achievement in exceeding their target of returning 1,000 children to school in 2017.  The celebration took place in SDN 04 in Wanatirta Village, Paguyangan Sub-district, as part of National Education Day and was attended by the Bupati of Brebes Ibu Hj. Idza Priyanti, A.MD., S.E. and Fleur Davies, Minister Counsellor of the Australian Embassy.  Under the Back-to-School Movement (Gerakan Kembali Bersekolah - GKB), a total of 1,212 children have now returned to school, with 643 children going to informal schools and 569 children to Community Learning Centers (Pusat kegiatan Belajar Masyarakat - PKBM).

The Bupati initiated Gerakan Kembali Bersekolah in July 2017 as a public-private initiative to actively identify and re-enroll children who had dropped out of the education system.  The district government had already established a community-based education information system called Sistem Informasi Pendidikan Berbasis Masyarakat or SIPBM.  Using this database as a starting point, the district government mobilized heads of sub-district and education service providers to expand the data and identify school-aged children in the communities who should be in school but are not.  The results showed a total of 7,722 children who are ready to return to school.

The Australian government supported a number of activities in the GKB initiative through KOMPAK (Kolaborasi Masyarakat dan Pelayanan untuk Kesejahteraan).  KOMPAK is working with the local officials and the local community to ensure that they are informed of the issues that are important in the local context. "Not by bringing an idea that might have worked somewhere else, then say this is what you need do to solve your problem. But there needs to be a process between the local officials and local communities of working their own solution together,” Minister Counsellor Australian Embassy Fleur Davis explained.

While joining the monitoring the development of the program in Brebes Central Java, The Director General of Villages & Disadvantages Regions Samsul Widodo was impressed with the significant increase of the children who are going back to school. “I think it will be good if it (Back to School Movement) becomes a national movement,” he said.