A visitor seeking to learn the source of improved student learning at Darul Ulum Pasinan madrasah in Bojonegoro, Indonesia, might get a different answer each time the question is asked. It’s not that teachers, parents, students and the principal disagree; it’s just that there are so many reasons to choose from. One source of the students’ progress is visible in any classroom at Darul Ulum Pasinan, a participant in the Decentralizing Basic Education 2 (DBE2) project. “My students love it when their work is displayed,” explains Abdul Mujib Rohdhono, a grade 2 teacher. “Not only the students, but their parents are proud.” DBE2 participating schools improve their learning environment, often in simple ways such as exhibiting student work. Rohdhono believes that motivates the madrasah’s 352 students to study harder and be more actively engaged in their learning.
The principal, Imron Nadjik, cites the strides made by the school’s teachers once they began training. “They started to prepare well for teaching by making lesson plans and syllabi, and that has caused improvements in the quality of learning,” he says. DBE2, funded by the US Agency for International Development and implemented by Education Development Center, promotes active, creative, joyful, and effective learning. DBE2 data show that teachers are making it happen.
Siti Maimunah, an early primary teacher, notes that DBE2’s emphasis on school-wide improvements has resulted in the formation of a parents’ community for Grade 1, 2, and 3 students. “They are very solid in their support of school progress, so it really helps us as teachers," she explains.
Given the design of DBE2, it is likely that all of the observers are correct. The program is meant to help schools like Darul Ulum Pasinan create holistic improvement. Regardless of who is asked, the consensus is that it’s working: not only have student test scores increased, but the school's success is recognized by others. MI Darul Ulum Pasinan has now become the school representative for the Bojonegoro District at provincial-level events. Visit the project website at: http://www.dbe-usaid.org/.