2003 IDS: Education Communication Initiative
The Education Communication Initiative (ECI) was formulated to promote Education Reform and Local Actions to support quality basic education in Indonesia. The vision for the initiative is to establish Quality Basic Education For All (QBEFA). UNICEF is facilitating this initiative in collaboration with the National Ministry of Education, Government of Indonesia. The initiative was launched on 23 September 2002, in the form of a media campaign, to create awareness in relation to education reform. In addition, a community advocacy and social mobilization campaign took place to promote the vision of QBEFA, and to develop district and local action plans to translate the vision into practical education plans.
The overall objective was to review various ECI activities through the measurement of commitment and to suggest recommendations for the future. More specific objectives included:
- To measure ad awareness for the ECI campaign across segments, based on their commitment to basic education.
- To gauge attitudes towards basic education and alternative activities such as working for money or helping out at home.
- To identify specific actions that stakeholders have taken to realize the QBEFA vision.
- To measure awareness and attitudes towards the Advocacy and Social Mobilization and Education program.
- To identify areas in which the ECI has been relatively more effective as well as identifying ways in which the initiative can be improved.
For the benefit of the study, it was important to include a range of stakeholders, directly or indirectly involved with basic education. They were divided into the following five different target groups: school-aged children aged 6 to 15 years; parents to school-aged children; teachers; community leaders; policy makers. It was decided that parents, children and teachers be randomly selected and surveyed quantitatively. In addition, a limited set of community leaders and policy makers would be approached for qualitative in-depth interviews.
To achieve good representation, the sample was spread across the 20 districts UNICEF had decided to run the intervention program. However, because Papua, Sulawesi and NT were seen to be important regions, the sample was disproportionately allocated to allow for cross-regional analysis.
Findings and Conclusions:
The media campaign achieved significantly higher reach among teachers (80%), followed by children (69%), and parents (48%). Reach was also higher in Java, mainly due to the relatively low media penetration in NT, Sulawesi and Papua. A follow-on campaign (Sherina) was run in East Java, NT and Papua. Total reach for this television campaign was 23%. In Papua, penetration of radio is higher compared to television (45% vs 21%), which means radio is an important media to consider for future campaigns. Around 50% of people in NT, Sulawesi and Papua don’t have any media and highlights the importance of complementing conventional media with social mobilisation and other community programs.
An interesting finding was that whilst media penetration in NT is relatively low (48%), total reach for the ECI was quite high amongst children and parents (60% and 66% respectively). Although many don’t have a television in NT, they watch television with friends and relatives, as indicated by their higher rate of viewing habits. Overall, 77% of parents and 82% of children in NT had watched, listened to or read some media in the last week. Media viewing in Papua and Sulawesi, on the other hand, is significantly lower.
Three in four (76%) of teachers were aware of the social mobilisation program that UNICEF organised. Awareness was somewhat lower amongst parents and children, with 54% and 59%, respectively. The social mobilization program was found to be less effective in NT, Sulawesi and Papua. However, because these areas have very low media penetration, around 50% or less, complementary initiatives such as a social mobilization program becomes more important and should be considered for future initiatives. Involvement of teachers will be important, as their level of involvement was relatively high. Overall, 55% of all teachers participated in some way compared to 35% for parents and 43% for children. The more successful activities that took place included student competitions and street carnivals. These activities attracted more attention as well as participation and should be considered for future initiatives.
The campaign was successful in raising awareness that Indonesia now has 9 years of basic education. The initial campaign contributed to a significant increase in Java but had less impact in the outer regions. However, the follow-on campaign (Sherina) helped to increase awareness in East Java, NT and Papua. In total, awareness increased from 59% to 70% in this region. This shows that conventional media can be very effective in generating awareness and should be considered for future initiatives.
The campaign also helped to shape more positive attitudes towards basic education. For the initial campaign, however, it appears the overall media weight was too weak in order to push the message through effectively. This was true even in areas where media penetration is quite high. The follow-on campaign (Sherina), on the other hand, had more weight and was very effective in influencing attitudes. In particular, in East Java, where television penetration and watching is relatively high (50% have a television and everyone surveyed had watched television in the last week). For future campaigns, it will be important to ensure the media schedule has enough frequency to cut through the clutter. Radio should be considered as a supporting media for better reach.
Unlike awareness and attitudes, commitment is a better measure for predicting future behavior. For example, knowing that many parents and children are committed to SD, we can be confident that they are much more likely to continue to SMP compared to those who are uncommitted to SD. This makes the model attractive for education as we want to identify those at risk of dropping out of school at an early stage.
In terms of commitment to basic education, there was a significant shift among parents with children of SD age in East Java following the Sherina campaign. Those committed to basic education increased from 71% up to 86%. This was also reflected in their attitudes. Whilst this shift cannot be directly attributed to the campaign, it is an encouraging sign. Normally, for commitment to change significantly, one has to take a long-term view. However, one could speculate whether the campaign, in fact, has reached a threshold where those reached by the campaign is starting to become motivated by the communication. Further initiatives should be considered with continued support from media measurements to monitor performance both in terms of reach and commitment.
Commitment to 9 years of basic education is relatively lower among parents. About one in three parents are not committed compared to only one in five among school-aged children. As expected, teachers are highly committed. Hence, the focus for future campaigns should be on parents using children as influencers and teachers as spokespeople. Commitment is not generated through awareness but through involvement so key is finding a way to involve parents more. The ECI saw a high correlation between involvement and commitment. In other words, the ECI did a good job in reinforcing those already committed to 9 years of basic education. For example, it is interesting to note that SMP participation was found to be highest in NT together with commitment.
The strategy forward for UNICEF is to target parents and encourage them to have their children stay in school. The focus should be on the last three years of SD where the drop-out rate is at its highest peak. Changing attitudes to bring SMP into the mindset is an important objective. In Papua and Sulawesi, the main objective should be to continue to raise awareness about 9 years of basic education.
The "Aku inging lebih baik" theme has achieved some recognition and may continue. The context and the creative idea may need to be changed and there are plenty of themes uncovered by the research that could form the basis for new creative ideas. For example, one of the key differences between those committed and those not committed to basic education is that those committed would, to a greater extent, feel embarrassed if their children did not attend school. Another possible motivator is the future security that parents may enjoy should their children complete education and find a good job.
Whilst children are both more aware and committed to 9 years of basic education, they cannot be ignored as a target group. Maintaining their commitment and strengthening it, where necessary, are still important, especially in Papua and Sulawesi. Children are, of course, very much guided by their parents but, as with teachers, they are potentially a highly-influential group.
Teachers are the least of UNICEF's worries; they are very supportive of 9 years of basic education and highly committed to their work, and their school and the children they teach. As respected members of the community, teachers are well-positioned to become future spokespersons and organisers of social mobilisation programs.
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