My name is Rukmini. I was born and raised in Pangkajene and Islands/Kepulauan (Pangkep), South Sulawesi. Currently, I am entrusted with the mandate as the Head of the Teachers and Education Division, Pangkep District Education and Culture Office. Akin to its name, Pangkajene dan Kepulauan, Pangkep District consists of a group of islands. For educational services to reach everyone equitably, including the children on the islands, a great deal of innovation was needed.
In 2016, when I was Head of Educational Facilities and Infrastructure Section, I visited almost every school on the islands. At the time, I found that many children did not go to school for days since they had to help their parents out at the sea. They came from various levels of education, from elementary, junior high, to senior high school.
Usually, these children are reluctant to go back to school due to the feeling that they are way behind the lessons. At the time, teachers clung to the idea that teaching and learning could only be done in the classroom. On the other hand, parents have not actively supported their children’s education. This resulted in the high number of children who were dropping out of school in the islands region.
This experience inspired me to develop the Boat Class or Kelas Perahu, an innovative learning system that allows children to learn even when they are out on the sea by using the student worksheets which we developed as a medium for self-learning. In Kelas Perahu, the teacher gives homework to students while they are out fishing. When they return, teacher will collect and discuss together about the homework so that children who have to go to sea do not miss lessons and fall behind.
With KOMPAK’s assistance, Boat Classes went through several stages of development, starting from preparing the policy and budget to the guidelines that regulate the coordination between stakeholders involved. In particular, KOMPAK evaluated student worksheets materials, ensured that the local content was relevant to the lives of the fishing communities, and encouraged the replication of Kelas Perahu throughout the islands region of Pangkep District
The collaboration has paid off. Until August 2021, as many as 530 children are participating in the self-learning through Kelas Perahu. This innovation allows children of seagoing communities to help their parents without compromising their right to quality education services.
This is my dream for the children living on the islands.