FREEDOM TO STUDY

The pandemic has not yet been declared over. In Indonesia, education became one of the first locked down and after six months, when other fields had begun to reopen, schools were still not opened. Does this make Indonesian children stop learning? Are online classes currently used as educational media for children?

The Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Anwar Makarim,  concerning the Implementation of Education in the Emergency Period of Coronavirus Disease (Covid 19),  mentions eliminating all face-to-face activities in the classroom and replacing them with online classes. This decision is understood to be an attempt to put children's health as the main focus. The reality of what happens in society, these online habits bring about limitations. Only those with digital access (read: internet) are able to continue their education without this face-to-face. 

Two areas of Alit Indonesia that have different local characteristics move to get out of limitations by interpreting learning not only in the classroom and simply accepting limitations by forgetting social interactions, yet learning process can be conducted. 

EAST NUSA TENGGARA (NTT)
The biggest problem of online classes felt by children in NTT, precisely in Sikka Regency, Flores, is the lack of availability and expensive internet connection. There are still many children who have to climb the hill for two hours just to find a signal, in order to be able to do school work. There are still many parents who today still have to fight for the family economy and are now confused by the burden of internet quota funding. Further effect, no raport was shared. Education for children cannot be implemented evenly only through online methods. 

This challenge was taken by volunteers in NTT by implementing Merdeka Belajar (FREEDOM TO STUDY) program. Held in Children Centre that has been developed by Alit Flores team together with Diocese of Maumere. Children Centres are located in 15 stasis under 5 parishes (catholic church operating areas at the village and sub-district level). This program re-launches the study program at the Children Centre while complying with the protocol. Tutoring activities are a supplement for children to continue to feel the right to education in full and help the learning process at home, also aims to train children side by side to adapt to new habits, such as always washing hands and wearing masks when outdoor activities. In this program, children are guided to do school tasks, explain school materials that are difficult for children to understand and provide an internet connection that can be accessed by children for online learning. 

Alit Flores divides Merdeka Belajar classes for children in grades three to six in elementary schools. Classes are held daily and take turns for each class, so there is no crowd. Conditions that must be met in each face-to-face activity, namely: the maximum number of participants of activities 5-6 people, children and tutor must wear a mask, all participants both tutor and children must wash their hands before starting activities and sitting positions must pay attention to the distance between each other, at least one meter.

Adherence to protocols and willingness to continue learning are the main issue in the implementation of this program. One of the obstacles faced is that many children are not able to do activities in children center. The lack of number of participants who are allowed to do activities in children center has not been able to accommodate all children who are included in the data base of each region. There are still many children who have not been able to access the benefits of bimbel done in Children Center.  However, this does not affect the spirit of the volunteers and children when they are tutoring at the Children Center.
 

SURABAYA
The unpending of schools in Surabaya has had an impact that is often forgotten by adults. One of them is that there is too much free time available so that it increases the chances of children being plunged into negativity. This is very vulnerable, especially in marginal children and children with less parental attention, such as children of Ketintang railway which is adjoining Alit in Surabaya. 

Not only that, the limited supporting equipment that each family has to go to school online is also one of the main obstacles. One family that only has one mobile phone, but has three school-age children, will be very confused to arrange the right time so that their children can go to school online properly. 

I'm miss school. So playing to ALIT feels like school," Yufi, 12, said, as one of the Elementary School students.

Every school day, Children Center Alit Surabaya applies a schedule of 2-3 sessions in one day. Students who attend are also required to wear masks and faceshields that have been provided by CC and must follow the applicable regulations such as directly washing their hands in the place that has been provided shortly after entering the gate, keeping distance, and not removing the mask during class. Not only that, all equipment used in each session will be sterilized using disinfectants periodically at the end of each session. Learning conducted in EDC classes and elementary classes is not only academic learning, but also non-academic activities such as simple skills and cooking classes.

The right to education of the child must still be given in full. Limitations are not obstacles. Children are free men with all their vastness. This includes the vastness of ways to keep their education and learning so that they grow independently.