Author: Ashton, C.
UNICEF Jakarata commissioned this evaluation report on the Program Pendidikan Damai (Peace Education Program, PPD) in the Province of Aceh, Indonesia. The program was developed in response to concerns about how the current violence and political situation were affecting the children of Aceh. The program is provided to sophomores (grade 10) in 96 high schools in Aceh. The curriculum is one semester in length, 27 lessons. The teachers received a seven-day training in the curriculum content and the practice of interactive, facilitative teaching methods. At the time of this report, there were 190 teachers of peace education and 22,240 students participating in the classes.
Purpose / Objective
As a pilot project, funded by an external donor, there is a need to show donors that the pilot project is implemented well and that the project objectives are being achieved. The various project stakeholders are in agreement that the formative evaluation will have the following objectives:
- To assess the effectiveness of the project (i.e., the extent to which the project stated objectives are being achieved or can be achieved)
- To assess sustainability of the project (i.e., the likelihood of the project continuing after donor support)
- To assess the relevance of the project (i.e., appropriateness of the project in relation to the needs and situation in Aceh)
- To assess determine ways to improve the project design, with special focus on the content and delivery of the peace education curriculum
Because there was no pre-post testing done with the participating students, this report is the result of open-ended questions posed in interviews or focus groups conducted by the evaluator. The evaluator visited 31 of these schools, meeting with the students of peace education, their teachers and principals. 617 students, 21 principals/headmasters, and approximately 55 teachers were present for interviews.
Interviews with students were conducted as focus groups. The evaluator was able to observe three Peace Education classes in session at one school in Banda Aceh at the end of the visit. Interviews were also held with a few education officials including: the Head of the Educational and Cultural Office Kota Banda Aceh and the Head of the Curriculum Section of the Dinas Pendidikan Kota Banda Aceh, the Officer-in-Charge of the Provincial Office of Religious Affairs of Aceh (also Head of the Educational Division at the Provincial Office of Religious Affairs), and a local Education Department representative in Meulaboh.
Another contractual responsibility of the evaluator was to develop an instrument to be used to measure change in the students.
Key Findings and Conclusions
The implementation of the program has gone relatively smoothly due to the level of coordination with schools and the inclusion of government officials in the start-up effort. Another contribution to the smooth implementation was the quality of teacher training. The most notable drawbacks to implementation were the late timing of the printing of the revised textbook and the lack of evaluation design and instruments.
Teachers reported that they were ready to implement the curriculum upon their return from the training and have done so with few obstacles or challenges. Teachers reported successful implementation resulting in noticeable changes in their students' behaviors, attitudes and skills. They had only minor problems with materials and supplies. None of the teachers felt at risk for teaching this course in a conflict area, but they did express some concern for their students. All teachers reported that teaching this course had been a life-changing experience for them, as well as their students. Their principals were very supportive of them and the program, and all of them wanted to see the program expanded to more grades and more than one semester.
The students were highly enthusiastic about the Peace Education Program. They provided numerous examples of the ways in which the program was changing their lives. These examples included:
- Knowledge gained on peace issues
- Increased understanding of Islam and Acehnese culture, and their teachings on peace
- Increased understanding of the Aceh Conflict
- Increased respect for teachers, family, and each other
- Increased self-confidence and ability to speak up in public
- More able to work in collaborative groups
- Increased ability to be introspective and acknowledge personal responsibility
- Increased moral development
- Decreased incidents of fighting
- Increased problem-solving skills
- Improved classroom behavior
- Improved study skills
- Increased ability to control anger
- Students who have had the full curriculum can truly see that war and violence are not the only alternatives to conflict
- Reduction of prejudice
- Increased concern for their environment and community
Students also believed that the course should be taught for more than one semester and in all grades. They particularly wished that government officials and soldiers would take the course.
Only a few government officials were interviewed for this report, but they were supportive of the program and would like to see it expanded and continued. They noted that, at this time, it would be virtually impossible for Aceh to pick up the full cost of the program, especially if it is to be expanded to other grades, but they were open to the idea of working with other funders, such as UNICEF, to look at a long-range plan for embedding the Peace Education Program into the Acehnese education system.
Recommendations were made in the areas of: government and financial support; organizational support and curriculum monitoring; and evaluation. Overall, this program appears to be highly successful in its early stages. Continued efforts to institutionalize the curriculum and to implement an evaluation plan will increase the likelihood of long-term success. One of the recommendations made that would also increase the likelihood of long-term change in the students was to add a community services component, so that the youth might stay involved in the program even after they have completed the curriculum. UNICEF should continue to fund this program over the next few years, working closely with the Acehnese government to eventually have the program become fully supported within the Acehnese education system.
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Education - Other
Nonviolence International, AusAI