The Payakumbuh city administration handed over the school supplies to the TNI personnel to be deployed to implement the TNI Teaching Operation in Keerom District, the city government's secretary, Rida Ananda, stated here on Friday.
"May the donated school supplies be helpful to our brothers and sisters in Papua, and the TNI personnel are able to continue to serve the nation and state," Ananda remarked while handing over the school supplies at the Payakumbuh Public Primary School SDN 04.
The donated items, comprising 137 pairs of elementary school uniforms, 127 pairs of junior high school uniforms, 18 white shirts for junior high school students, and 400 notebooks, were received by First Lieutenant Yos Elza Rony from the 131 Braja Sakti Military District Command.
The donated school supplies are initiated by headmasters belonging to the Primary School Principals Working Group (K3S) and Working Deliberation of Headmasters (MKKS) in Payakumbuh City, West Sumatra.
ANTARA noted that Indonesian soldiers, stationed in Papua and West Papua, had demonstrated exemplary capability in maintaining peace and stability in both provinces for decades in their endeavors to safeguard the country's territorial integrity.
The soldiers are chiefly tasked with securing peace and stability in the country's easternmost provinces. However, they concurrently also live and mingle with members of local communities, thereby offering them a close glimpse into the challenges faced by native Papuans in their day-to-day lives.
The two provinces are reeling from a shortage of teaching staff on account of the fact that native Papuans not just reside in coastal areas but also in remote mountainous and hilly areas.
Consequently, the development of human resources in Papua and West Papua remains a tricky challenge, as the human development index scores of these provinces remain lower in comparison with those of other Indonesian provinces.
Referring to Indonesia's 2019 human development index, the scores of Papua and West Papua were recorded at 64.7 and 60.84 respectively.
In dealing with this challenging reality, commanders have assigned soldiers, especially those stationed near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) border areas, to serve as voluntary teachers at schools.
Several members of the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) Border Security Task Force in Merauke District, Papua Province, have adeptly shouldered this responsibility.
They have extended voluntary assistance to teachers at 12 elementary schools in the sub-districts of Sota, Neukenjerai, Eligobel, and Ulilin in Merauke District since July 2019.
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 statement made available to ANTARA last February that they taught reading, writing, and mathematics to the students.
As a live example, the army personnel have been edifying the students of Sota Christian Elementary School, one of the schools located in the Indonesia-PNG border area.
Aditya highlighted his men's keenness to fill the gap of teacher shortage there.
Major Sergeant Catur Budi Satriyo, a member of the Kout Sota Command Post, is among the soldiers regularly teaching reading, writing, and mathematics at this Christian Educational Foundation (YPK)-owned school.
The students and teachers have warmly welcomed these voluntary teachers. Edowardus Burman Tenjap, a fourth-grade student at 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.
The literacy-related community services offered by the Indonesian soldiers since several years have contributed notably to the regional and central government's endeavors to enhance the quality of human capital in Papua and West Papua. Related news: Indonesian soldiers bridge teacher shortage gap in Papua
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EDITED BY INE