Indonesian soldiers bridge teacher shortage gap in Papua

Indonesian soldiers bridge teacher shortage gap in Papua

A military truck in Papua Province is used for serving local students in Keerom District to drive them to schools on time. (ANTARA/HO/Pendam XVII Cenderawasih)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Several members of the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) Border Security Task Force extended voluntary assistance to teachers at 12 elementary schools in Sota, Neukenjerai, Eligobel, and Ulilin sub-districts, Merauke District, Papua Province, since July 2019.

They teach reading, writing, and mathematics to students, Commander of the task force at the Army Strategic Reserves Command's (Kostrad's) MR 411/PDW Infantry Battalion Major Rizky Aditya noted in a press statement made available to ANTARA here on Wednesday.

As a live example, the army personnel have been teaching the students of the Sota Christian Elementary School, one of the schools at the Indonesia-PNG border area, Aditya remarked, adding that his men were keen to fill the gap of teacher shortage there.

Major Sergeant Catur Budi Satriyo, a member of the Kout Sota Command Post, is one of the soldiers, who regularly teaches reading, writing, and mathematics at this Christian Educational Foundation (YPK)-owned school.

Edowardus Burman Tenjap, a fourth-grade student at this YPK's elementary school, expressed happiness and pride on being taught reading, writing, and mathematics by the soldiers. "Thank you for teaching us," he stated.

Julianus Noya, speaking on behalf of all teachers, also thanked the Indonesian army personnel for their assistance to their pupils over the past six months.

"This voluntary teaching program is immensely valuable to our students," Noya remarked.

The Indonesian army personnel do not merely fill the gap of teacher shortage but they also provide transportation services to the students.

The Raiders Battalion 300/Brajawijaya Command, for instance, sends its trucks to drive local students to their schools though owing to the limited number of these vehicles, the students are not able to avail transport services daily.

"We help the students get to schools in time. The schools are located at quite a distance if they are to be reached on foot," Commander of the Raiders Battalion 300/Brajawijaya Command Lt Col Ary Sutrisno remarked.

If the trucks are not available, the local students are required walk to their schools for some 15 kilometers, he pointed out.

Bastian, one of the students regularly taking the TNI truck, admitted to the transport service regularly provided by the TNI being immensely helpful, as it enabled him and his peers to reach schools on time.

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