Returning Out-of-School Kids in Kota Serang

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

The Government of Serang together with the USAID ERAT team and children who will return to school through the “Aje Kendor Sekolah” (Don’t Stop Schooling) program.

The Government of Serang together with the USAID ERAT team and children who will return to school through the “Aje Kendor Sekolah” (Don’t Stop Schooling) program.

Education is not only a fundamental human right but also a cornerstone of progress and development. It plays a vital role in personal development, economic prosperity, social cohesion, and the overall well-being of individuals and societies. While 99.6% of 7-12 years old children in Kota Serang were enrolled in school (provincial average 99.5%), only 94.9% and 61.9% of its 13-15- and 16-18-years old children, respectively, were enrolled in schools in 2021.  These were lower than the provincial averages of 96.8% and 68.9%, respectively.  Based on these principles, USAID ERAT has been actively supporting the Government of Kota Serang in reintegrating out-of-school children into the educational system.

This collaboration started back in September 2022 when USAID ERAT facilitated a discussion about 12-Year Compulsory Education program initiative in Kota Serang and advocated Kota Serang Education Office to collaborate with all sub-districts to obtain the most recent data on the number of out-of-school children. The Mayor of Kota Serang supported this effort and launched a program called “Aje Kendor Sekolah” (Don’t Stop Schooling) program.

USAID ERAT facilitated the local government of Kota Serang to learn from its peer in Pekalongan (Central Java) that has a similar program.  Specifically, Kota Serang officials learned about the process of verifying and validating out-of-school children through subdistrict and village offices and adopted the approach. 

A dedicated working group for Aje Kendor Sekolah was formed by the local government. They actively work with the Kota Serang Education Office, sub-districts, and schools to compile and verify data on out-of-school children. Through this comprehensive effort, it was revealed that approximately 7,669 children in Kota Serang were out of school. The working group started approaching the children and their families to discuss the possibility of the children to return to school and, subsequently, schools that potentially accept them.  Additionally, USAID ERAT also facilitated discussions with the private sector, specifically the National Zakat Agency (Badan Zakat Nasional, BAZNAS) and a state-owned bank, Bank Jabar Banten (BJB), seeking their support to the Aje Kendor Sekolah program.

On July 26, 2023, USAID ERAT facilitated an event marking the return of 133 out-of-school children – most of them are at the elementary and junior high school levels – for the upcoming academic year 2024/2025. These children received support including school supplies from the BAZNAS in Kota Serang and a savings fund of Rp500,000 from BJB to enable their return to school. The Mayor of Kota Serang, Syafrudin, symbolically presented assistance to 10 out-of-school children who will resume their studies.

While 133 children represent just two percent of the total out-of-school children in Kota Serang, they demonstrate USAID ERAT’s effectiveness in facilitating discussions leading up to this result. Looking forward, USAID ERAT remains committed in supporting the Government of Kota Serang to reintegrate all out-of-school children back into the educational system.

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