Kota Cilegon’s Efforts to Reintegrate Out-of-School Children

A group of civil servants holding a book of action plans for accelerating the Human Development Index (HDI) in West Kalimantan Province for the years 2023-2025

Field data validation by the Sekole Maning Lur team to identify out-of-school children in Kota Cilegon.

Field data validation by the Sekole Maning Lur team to identify out-of-school children in Kota Cilegon.
Photo credit: The LG of Kota Cilegon.

Since 2015, the Indonesian government has been advocating for a 12-year compulsory education system, representing an enhancement from the previous mandatory duration of only 9 years. This means all levels of government have an obligation to finance and provide school facilities up to high school. This responsibility includes finding and returning out-of-school children back to school. While the expected number of years of schooling in Kota Cilegon has been high at 13 years, some children still cannot continue their education for several reasons. Recognizing this challenge, in the first quarter of 2024, USAID ERAT supported the local government (LG) of Kota Cilegon to initiate their back-to-school program, known as “Sekole Maning Lur,” (Let’s go to School Again) aimed at addressing these educational gaps. This innovation aims to reintegrate out-of-school children into formal and non-formal education, as a follow-up to the peer-to-peer learning innovation activities supported by USAID ERAT, where Cilegon replicated innovations from Pekalongan Regency.

Sekole Maning Lur’s initiative began by identifying and validating the target beneficiaries. The LG of Kota Cilegon conducted surveys across eight sub-districts to gather data. The Center for Data and Information (pusdatin) of the Ministry of Education and Culture noted that in 2022, the city of Cilegon had a total of 1,149 out-of-school children. This data indicates that there are still many children in Cilegon who are not receiving education services, highlighting the need for collaboration between the government, community, educational institutions, and all stakeholders involved in education to continually improve the quality and accessibility of education, as well as to provide motivation and support for children to pursue higher levels of education.

This effort by the Kota Cilegon Government aligns with the policy direction and strategies of the 2020-2024 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) regarding the improvement of equitable access to education services at all levels and the acceleration of the 12-Year Compulsory Education Program, one of which is addressing out-of-school children to return to school. This involves accurate data collection, effective outreach and assistance, revitalization of the return-to-school movement, and appropriate learning models for children. The Cilegon City Government’s efforts also aim to meet the RPJMN 2020-2024 Education Completion Rate targets, which are 94.78% for elementary schools, 89.49% for junior high schools, and 76.47% for senior high schools.

As an initial step in implementing Sekole Maning Lur, the Kota Cilegon Education and Culture Agency coordinated through the Kota Cilegon Sekole Maning Lur Team along with school supervisors and educational supervisors in the sub-districts, involving Community Learning Center (Pusat Kegiatan Belajar Masyarakat, PKBM), began conducting a census of out-of-school children in 8 sub-districts. From the census results, 417 out-of-school children were identified and verified using National Identification Numbers (NIK). Subsequently, USAID ERAT facilitated the integration of census data with data from pusdatin through workshops and assistance for about two months in Q2 FY2024. The verification results showed that there were 96 children who had never attended school, 61 who dropped out, 110 who completed but did not continue, 68 who were still enrolled, and 82 without ID number (hence, untraceable through the educational database). Based on these verification results, in January 2024, USAID ERAT facilitated another workshop that resulted in a field validation model for out-of-school children data, conducted by the Graduates Return to School (Gerakan Sarerea Lulus Sakola) team in coordination with sub-districts and villages, and collaborated with community leaders and cadres for direct fieldwork.

This field validation process was independently conducted under the coordination of the Head of the Kota Cilegon Education Department, starting from February to March 2024. Of the 417 out-of-school children validated, 301 were identified as willing to return to school, with 38 of them from the Pulomerak sub-district ready to return to PKBM. While there are still many steps toward making sure the children can be reintegrated into school or community learning centers, USAID ERAT will continue to work alongside the LG of Kota Cilegon, providing educational opportunities for all children, regardless of their circumstances. USAID ERAT will also support connecting out-of-school children with community learning centers or schools that are willing to accept them and opening a collaboration with the private sector in filling the funding gap.

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