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05 Dec 2022

Co-Design to reduce school dropouts in Mamuju, West Sulawesi Province

Project leader: Victor Matanggaran

Level of education and university: Non Degree, Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program 2013

Collaborating Organisations: -

Project Location: The project will be conducted in Desa Kalukku Barat (West Kalukku Village). There are seven sub-villages in West Kalukku with a total population of 5,330 people. The majority of the population work as fishermen, fish sellers, rice farmers, construction workers, and other informal workers. The distance between the capital city of Mamuju to the village is around 36km, or a 1 hour and 30 minute drive from the city. The community in the Kayumate sub-village is divided into two main big groups, the fisher community which lives in the coastal area, and 50m from them, the rice farming community. Both have extremely different lifestyles. The fishery community tends to be more traditional and mostly not educated while the farmers have higher educational backgrounds.

Activity Type: Community development activities

Sector: Education and Training, Education Management, Development Studies

Project Rationale:

There are approximately 32,000 children who have already dropped out of school in West Sulawesi Province, equal to 10% of total students in the region (Umar, 2020). During the pandemic, from our work in the community we found that many young girls decided to leave school and get married. Most children leave school after approximately eight years of schooling and do not attend school at the junior high school level (Direktorat Analisis dan Pengembangan Statistik, 2020). It is far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal number 4 in Quality of Education; which states that girls and boys should complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. Only about 30% of youth who finished high school in West Sulawesi can enter higher education institutions or universities (Direktorat Analisis dan Pengembangan Statistik, 2020). That also does not meet the goal of ensuring equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university by 2030. Besides this, the Declaration of Human Rights Article 26 has clearly stated that everyone has the right to education and higher education that is equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

Leaving school early has a long impact on a person's life. Many dropout students end up in early child marriages (Ouma et al., 2017), West Sulawesi Province is among the top three for the highest prevalence of child marriages, accounting for nearly 20% of child marriages nationally (Gaib Hakiki, Asnita Ulfah, Maarif Ibnu Khoer, Sugeng Suproyanto, Muhammad Bosarudin, Widya Larasati, Dwi Prastiwi, Tanti Kosmiyati Kostaman, Nadira Irdiaa, Putri K. Amanda, 2020). Those who are married early may not be able to take care of their children and this is a significant contributing factor to the high rate of stunted growth in the region and places this province as the second highest for rates of stunted growth nationally after East Nusa Tenggara (Kementerian Kesehatan RI, 2019). Apart from child marriages, stigma towards dropout students, especially girls, causes mental health problems such as depression and low self-esteem which isolates them from social inclusion and hinders their productivity (Sung-Man, 2020).

My background research suggests several factors causing school dropouts in Mamuju, West Sulawesi Province. Some factors are unsurprising, including economic difficulties and low academic performance, but there are other factors like peer influence and negative life events that also have a significant impact on students’ decisions to leave school. Student engagement at school is strongly correlated to peer support (Nurmalita et al., 2021). Without close friends at school it seems difficult to attend school especially if the only reason to go to school is to meet friends (Habibi & Setiawan, 2017). Students also feel more comfortable when sharing their problems with friends rather than parents or teachers. Besides this, students who experience negative life events such as losing a significant person in life or experiencing conflicts in the family or in romantic relationships have a high potential to leave school earlier.

Project Beneficiaries:

The main beneficiaries of the program are 5 facilitators from Macanga Institute (our organisation) who upgraded their capacity in conducting co-design for community development, more than 500 children and teenagers, including around 50 teachers in 3 different schools.

Priority Development Area:

Health Security

Link with Australian organisation:

Not available

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