Monash University is at the forefront of international cooperation and development in education. Currently, Monash and Indonesia’s Ministry of Education are working together, as part of the former’s Professional Learning Program for Indonesian School Principals and Supervisors.
According to the University’s website, the program “connects education leaders and their schools in Indonesia and Australia to take learning beyond the classroom.”
With a focus on holistic education, one initiative saw Indonesian schools adopt an Australian school’s idea for a student-run café, inculcating in students values of thrift, planning, and prudence; tangible take-home lessons rather than simply abstractions copied off a chalkboard.
Graham Parr, Associate Dean (International) at the Monash Faculty of Education, elaborated: “It’s about preparing individuals to be parts of communities; to understand and contribute to democracy … and depending on where you are, that gets translated in different ways.
“We’re preparing for people to be global citizens with an understanding of the world … and that you as an individual and others you work with have the potential to contribute, to shape that world.”
In August of last year, the program saw 25 Indonesian education leaders spend three weeks in Australia.
According to the University’s website: “While here, they participated in intensive professional development at Monash University, spent time embedded in local schools to see specialist programs in practice and had discussions and mentoring sessions with local school leaders.”
In October six Australian principals and assistant principals travelled to Bandung, where they took part in a school leadership symposium involving 300 Indonesian educators.
Clearly such connections have been a success, and innovative ideas are flourishing in our neighbour country:
“Some of the projects Indonesian school leaders have embedded into their schools include student-run cafes, school gardens, mentoring programs, student feedback trees, reading corners, mindfulness spaces, linked with local universities and health clinics, music programs and morning briefings on school values which parents are invited to attend.”
Friny Napasti, Principal of SMP Negeri 2, a junior secondary college in Tarakan, Indonesia, is a big believer in the efficacy and importance of such programs.
“Indonesian schools and Australian schools can learn from each other," Napasti said.
"Our focus, our aims are the same. We are building the character of our students and we are preparing our students to become good citizens in the 21st Century. So, it’s about sharing with each other how to teach our students.”