Jakarta. Amsterdam-based Louis Dreyfus Company, a global agricultural trader, launched a value-based education program at an elementary school in Jakarta last week to equip teachers and parents with the tools to improve quality education for young students.
The "School of the Future" program, which the company runs in partnership with teacher's development group WeTheTeachers, covers several aspects, including capacity-building training for teachers, parent workshops, funding for renovations and student engagement.
After a successful run at 2 Way Lunik State Elementary School in Lampung last year, the company is introducing its unique approach to education at Gambir 1 State Elementary School in Jakarta and Penajam 4 State Elementary School in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.
"It's about a different approach so [the teachers and parents] can create a more productive atmosphere in the classroom and at home," LDC Indonesia president director Rubens Marques said in Jakarta on Sept. 19.
Amanda Witdarmono, founder and executive director of WeTheTeachers, said it is important to instill and foster important values in students through teachers to help them succeed in life.
"Our approach is value-based education, where we invite the teachers to evaluate the challenges they face in school, what they hope to accomplish, and what the students seek from life," Amanda said.
Established in Indonesia in 2014, WeTheTeachers works on teachers' professional development.
Amanda said today's education should not solely focus on content or curriculum, but rather on improving the learning process. As students spend a huge part of their days in school, teachers play a crucial role in guiding them to become better individuals.
"Our students, the teachers tell me, are reluctant to express their opinions and don't have the confidence to perform in public. Confidence is one of the things we need to guide them," said Zuryetti, the principal of Gambir 1 State Elementary School.
As part of the program, WeTheTeachers will work closely with teachers to identify these issues and then seek creative ways to impart those values in the classroom.
"It's how we look at these values and create classroom activities based on them … so it's about being creative in terms of reimagining teaching. What is the ideal, student-centered teaching that would be more attractive for students?" Amanda said.
She added that the program in Jakarta will run for the rest of the semester with the hope that the school will continue to implement it afterwards.
Amanda said school students in Lampung were more open-minded about their life goals after the program ended, especially because they were exposed to different types of professional work through engagement with LDC employees.
Moreover, parents also remarked that students showed more discipline after the program and seemed to be more attentive to their responsibilities as students, such as finishing their homework.
Marques added that some employees still visit the school regularly, as they are located close to the LDC's offices, and they continue to mentor the students, while also monitoring the school's progress.
He also expressed hope that participants in the program would share what they had learnt with others, to expand the benefits to the larger public.
"We expect the teachers and parents, once they receive knowledge from WeTheTeachers, to multiply that to other schools, other parents, and then the [chosen] school doesn't become so important, it's more [about] the people we are engaging with," Marques said.