Teaching in Indonesia's Largest Trash Dump
Local organization Pesta Pendidikan is honoring the service of teachers in the landfill of Bantar Gebang, West Java by providing them with professional training and development. The initiative should inspire educators across the archipelago to continue im
Ibu Tati, Ibu Eva and Ibu Cucu are three dedicated teachers who spend their days teaching in the small administrative village of Sumur Batu in Bantar Gebang. Each of them have so far given 35, 9 and 27 years of their lives respectively to make sure that the people in Sumur Batu earn their rights to the proper education. To say that what they do is admirable would be an extreme understatement as Ibu Tati, Ibu Eva, Ibu Cucu and the rest of the teachers working in Bantar Gebang do not necessarily share a conventional teaching experience the way most teachers normally do.
The area known as Indonesia’s largest trash dump - which is now developing into a waste residue processing centre - is home to approximately 119,230 residents, many of whom make a living by collecting waste. Many of the scavenger families in Bantar Gebang reside in shelters built from waste materials. Their neighbourhood is highlighted with a mountain trash comprised of around 7,000 tonnes of daily rubbish picked up from all over Jakarta. All of these make living conditions in Bantar Gebang even more incompatible with the residents’ health, as they face the risk of getting various kinds of sickness everyday. Under such a substandard living environment, it would be hard to make sure that education stays a top priority for young residents.
That said, a number of teachers like Ibu Tati, Ibu Eva and Ibu Cucu are determined to provide students in Bantar Gebang with the appropriate education, especially when only a few of them have gained access to education. In 2014, only 51.4 percent of people in Sumur Batu completed nine years of school and there is still plenty of work to do to support the landfill residents with education.
For that reason, Pesta Pendidikan has come up with a campaign that aims to empower teachers in Sumur Batu with trainings and development. The campaign is called
Bantu Guru Belajar Lagi which translates to ‘Help Teachers Learn Again’. Through this initiative, the organization hopes to support teachers to develop their teaching skills so that the students in the administrative village can get the ultimate learning experience. The teachers themselves have become aware of the need to have more productive approaches to students that would bring a lasting impact on their learning achievements. For young teacher Ibu Eva, for instance, it is important for teachers to understand different techniques in discussing and interacting with children in class. Ibu Tati, who has been a teacher since 1982, understands the importance of embedding positive values for her students and hopes that they could grow to become “individuals that will continue to study and able to make a contribution to themselves, their families, religions, as well as the society”. As for Ibu Cucu, she finds the importance of having an education system that is well-adjusted to the digital era.
All of these teachers are very much aware of the changing trends in education environment and they do not plan to be left behind. The problem that teachers in Sumur Batu and the rest of Bantar Gebang are facing today is that they are not equipped with enough professional training and development that could raise their standards and competence. So far there has not been a national body that can fulfill their wish to progress or provide them with development programmes. Ultimately, students must adhere to an education system that does not necessarily prepare them for the greater future.
Pesta Pendidikan is giving teachers in Sumur Batu the opportunities to improve their teaching skills by collecting donations that would be used to support these teachers with the required development courses and trainings.
They did it by setting up a fundraising page at Kitabisa. com which has so far collected over Rp.95,000,000.
The collected fund will be allocated to training and development programmes in three elementary schools in Sumur Batu for one year.
The teachers in Sumur Batu’s struggle to achieve development opportunities show the need for our education system to have a curriculum for teacher development. Reinforcing this means appreciating the work and service of teachers across the archipelago who have devoted their time to raise what could potentially become Indonesia’s future leaders. If we fail to address the issue, we would be dishonouring the legacy our teachers have passed on to us all.