Improving learning outcomes of 50 million students in Indonesia
Johnson’s Social Impact Internship Fund enabled Amanda Srishima, MBA '21, to pursue a summer internship with the Ministry of Education and Culture in Indonesia.
My love for pedagogy started very early. Growing up in Indonesia, I collected books from friends and created mini libraries for kids. At some point, I realized that there are many notable books that have not been translated to Bahasa Indonesia and not everyone has access to effective English language courses. Acknowledging my privilege of English fluency, I spent two hours every Saturday morning teaching basic English to a class of eight underprivileged kids in Duren Sawit, Jakarta Timur.
Unlocking access for others to learn: Starting small
With my educational background in finance, I started to realize the importance of financial literacy. The question was, how do I get kids to be interested in financial education? With support from my employer at the time, I initiated a program to teach financial education to youth through cartoon videos. We created two relatable animal characters and six simple modules to teach the importance of financial savings and planning. Published through Standard Chartered Bank’s YouTube channel, the video reached close to 40,000 views in one year.
Continuing my passion to contribute in the education sector, for my summer internship during my MBA, I worked for the Government of Indonesia, with support from Johnson’s Social Impact Internship Fund. In this role, I was part of a mission-driven team that focused on creating digital transformation for the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC). I collaborated with engineers, government stakeholders, and consultants in pioneering education technology products to improve students’ learning outcomes. I also identified and assessed potential strategic partnerships between state-owned enterprises and leading industry players. I leveraged my MBA skills to draft strategic documents for proposed initiatives, which included the creation of multi-scenario financial projections, key success metrics, and standard operating procedures.
Leveraging technology to create impact
With one of the largest education systems in the world, Indonesia is home to over 50 million students, 200,000 schools, and 2.5 million teachers, committing about 20 percent of its annual state budget to education. With President Joko Widodo’s emphasis on developing human capital, my team at MOEC focused on using technology to provide services to accelerate the learning outcome of students.
The Government of Indonesia has publicly announced two main products developed by our team: Mass Teachers Platform (MTP) and School Operational Assistance (Bantuan Operasional Sekolah, or BOS Marketplace).
Mass Teacher Platform
For nation-wide education reform to be successful, MOEC needs K–12 teachers who are strong in both pedagogical knowledge and leadership skills to become school principals. These highly skilled teachers—known as Guru Penggerak (GPs)—are to be fast-tracked to become instructional leaders who can cross-pollinate other teachers across the country.
As MOEC aims to recruit 100,000 GPs in the next five years, we created the MTP as a fast and scalable online recruitment platform to identify these teachers.
With the COVID-19 crisis, the government determined that GP training must be virtual. As a result, virtual training was incorporated into the MTP so teachers can receive training materials through live or recorded sessions and other online learning mechanisms. This could pave the way for these teachers to learn innovative technologies for distance learning and, in turn, enable them to use and apply the latest software and tools with their students in the future.
Online marketplace for School Operational Assistance funding and spending
The School Operational Assistance program (BOS Marketplace) is an education grants scheme that provides additional financial support to over 200,000 schools in Indonesia. As this program dictates direct total payments of more than USD 4 billion equivalent every year, there is an urgent need for transparency and accountability in its implementation and spending. Moreover, due to the current bureaucratic process, schools must conduct a tedious budgeting and reporting process that involves multiple government entities: MOEC, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
As an e-commerce platform, the BOS Marketplace initiative was designed to simplify the process and serve as a one-stop shop for the schools to purchase their operational needs through the program’s funding. Moreover, this platform will ensure that MOEC centrally curates credible suppliers and tracks each step of the spending, enabling digitalized payments and electronic approvals. Ultimately, it is an optimized planning and budgeting system for schools to prioritize the spending for items that accelerate learning outcome of students.
Looking to the future
Through this internship experience, I learned about the importance of public–private partnerships and the role industry leaders can play in government projects to accelerate completion and reduce bottlenecks in implementation. It also allowed me to combine my newly acquired MBA skills with my passion for education.
The Government of Indonesia has ambitious goals for MOEC. MOEC has exceeded every expectation thus far, so I am certain that these breakthrough innovations will reform the education system for Indonesian students and improve learning outcomes. All in all, I have high hopes that the students in remote areas of Papua can get the same quality of education as the students in the capital city of Jakarta one day.