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INOVASI announces Innovation Drive winners and launches work in West Nusa Tenggara

The Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) project is an ambitious four year program working to inject innovation into Indonesia’s education sector. Recently, the program launched activities in West Nusa Tenggara province, and announced the nine lucky winners of its Innovations Drive.

INOVASI works to develop and implement action oriented research and pilots that will improve student learning outcomes in Indonesia.

What’s it all about?
INOVASI is designed to be transformational. The project focusses on understanding local challenges and opportunities, and generating and sharing evidence with key stakeholders in target and non-target districts. Ultimately, it works to promote adaptation of tested strategies for improving student learning outcomes.

Funded by DFAT and managed by Palladium, INOVASI collaborates closely with the Government of Indonesia at the district, provincial and national levels to develop and implement action oriented research and pilots that will improve student learning outcomes in Indonesia. Specifically, the program focusses on three sub-topics of investigation: the quality of teaching in the classroom, the quality of support for teachers, and learning for all.

INOVASI launches work in West Nusa Tenggara
INOVASI recently held a launch in the province of West Nusa Tenggara, kick starting its work at the provincial and district levels. The launch ceremony was attended by the Governor, the Head of the Indonesian Education Ministry's Research and Development Unit, and DFAT's Minister Counsellor for Governance and Human Development in Indonesia.

The Governor of West Nusa Tenggara and the Head of the Indonesian Education Ministry’s Research and Development unit signed a memorandum of understanding to commit national, provincial and district support for better literacy and numeracy in primary and junior secondary schools in the province. The Governor welcomed “the INOVASI program to West Nusa Tenggara to support the improvement of teaching and learning through stronger ties between teaching institutions, schools and school clusters”.

INOVASI supports transformation in the classroom. Our partnerships with schools and district governments will enable us to learn together how local innovations can contribute to resolving constraints identified at the classroom level. The national assessment reforms that INOVASI supports will help measure the effectiveness of those innovations. We are looking forward to establishing ties with districts in West Nusa Tenggara.” – Jessica Ludwig-Maaroof, Program Director, INOVASI

During the second half of 2016, INOVASI will start to work with districts and schools directly on improving literacy and numeracy outcomes.

The Governor of West Nusa Tenggara and the Head of the Indonesian Education Ministry’s Research and Development unit signed the MoU.

Innovations Drive winners announced
INOVASI is already implementing initiatives that drive innovation in Indonesia’s education sector. To celebrate National Education Day, INOVASI last month launched a unique ‘Innovations Drive’: a contest to crowdsource innovative ideas for improving literacy and numeracy across Indonesia. The hypothesis was simple: many good solutions to locally-identified problems remain untapped- particularly regarding literacy and numeracy for 7-15 year olds. The contest allowed INOVASI to both support Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture in promoting education quality across the country and gather innovative ideas- possibly for further refinement and scale up.

A diverse range of submissions were received from around the country. Areas of innovation were also wide-ranging. From a pool of 300 ideas, nine winners were selected collaboratively by the Ministry and the INOVASI team and announced at a ceremony in Jakarta with the Indonesian Minister for Education.
An overview of the nine winners reflects a range of local solutions to local challenges:

  • Abdul Mu’in, a primary school teacher in Semarang, Central Java, developed ‘alphabet cubes’ made from recycled wood to encourage higher levels of literacy in local classrooms.
  • Enjang Baya Irawan, a primary school teacher in Lumajang, East Java, created a unique method that helps his students understand the concept of adding and subtracting negative integers.
  • Dani Setiawan, a science teacher from Central Java, has plans to improve his students’ critical thinking, communication, collaboration and ICT skills to help them compete on a global platform.
'Alphabet cubes’ made from recycled wood encourage higher levels of literacy in local classrooms.
  • Ratin Wahyu Juni Atma, a teacher at an orphanage in East Lombok, wants to see more students students working in pairs to learn the scientific approach of experimentation, observation, and measurement through drawing, collaboration and oration.
  • Ernawati Efendi, a teacher in a remote village in East Nusa Tengarra, has unique ideas for developing educational aids to help improve her students’ numeracy skills.
  • Budi Iskander, a teaching volunteer, began a literacy movement in his hometown of Garut, West Java, which included building a network of student reading mentors.
  • Dini Handayani, a special needs teacher in West Java, uses voice-to-text transcription software as well as a camera mouse to help her deaf students learn to read and write.
  • Alphian Sahruddin, a primary school teacher in Makassar, South Sulawesi helps his students create mobile bookcarts from waste (cardboard, plastic) and fill these with books the students love to read.
  • Isrul, a teacher from Pinrang, South Sulawesi, uses virtual laboratories powered by information and communication technologies to help his students better understand scientific concepts in the absence of real labs.
The nine Innovations Drive winners are awarded at a ceremony in Jakarta.

"I have so many ideas to help improve literacy and numeracy. The trip to Jakarta, entering the Ministry of Education and Culture of the first time, meeting the Minister face to face has been an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. The INOVASI team was so supportive of us during our trip in Jakarta, I feel like I’ve now got brothers and sisters in my desire to innovate in education."- Enjang Baya Irawan, one of the nine Innovations Drive winners.

The INOVASI team is now working with the Ministry of Education and Culture to create a virtual platform of crowdsourced ideas to improve literacy and numeracy. The platform will connect teachers, parents and students to locally-generated solutions from around the country, as well as to peers who have faced and overcome similar problems. The best ideas generated from the Innovations Drive will be included and shared via this virtual platform by the end of 2016.


The need to transform education in order to improve learning is recognised in Indonesia. Over the past decade, Indonesia has substantially increased its spending on education, putting many more millions of children into school. It has also put in place a national policy framework for improving education quality that has introduced a number of macro solutions such as direct funding to schools, introduction of school-based management, qualification standards for teachers, and, most recently, a more streamlined curriculum. However, more can be done to increase students’ learning.

A breakthrough will require challenging the long-held assumptions of teachers and administrators about the factors that directly impact on student learning. This can be achieved through an improved knowledge base of what works in Indonesian classrooms and how this can be supported. By investigating what works and what doesn’t work to get teachers teaching better and students learning more, and why, Indonesia’s substantial spend in education can be better leveraged.

For more information about the INOVASI project, please contact Richard Paulsen, Director of Palladium’s Asia Pacific Education Practice (