Monday, August 26, 2013

1) Reading park: A plausible solution to illiteracy in Papua

1) Reading park: A plausible solution to illiteracy in Papua

2) Mimika picks 11 regency candidate pairs
3)  Combatting HIV/AIDS is not proceeding well in parts of Papua
4) MRP Recommendation on Jakarta-Papua Dialogue must be followed up

1) Reading park: A plausible solution to illiteracy in Papua
Setiono Sugiharto, Jakarta | Sat, 08/24/2013 11:16 AM | Opinion

Papua has once again entered the media spotlight. This time, the attention is not related to violent ambushes by native Papuans, tribal clashes or brutal military attacks against civilians. Instead, it has to do with the surprisingly high rate of illiteracy (reaching around 67 percent) among Papuans in remote regions.

It may sound ironic that this easternmost province – despite its remarkable wealth of natural resources – has such a high prevalence of illiteracy.

Finding a solution to this literacy quandary should not, however, be as tedious and costly as building schools with well-equipped facilities or creating modern, sophisticated curricula and designing a technologically based testing system.

 In essence, the real solution is not to design an integrated educational policy loaded with bureaucratic logic, but to provide people with easy and less costly access to places where books can be found.

Thanks to the mindfulness of the Education and Culture Ministry, the idea of establishing the Taman Bacaan Masyarakat (Public Reading Park) in Papua is beginning to be rolled out.

The ministry hit the nail on the head when one of its officials said that establishing more public reading parks in Papua, and elsewhere in other provinces, could help curb illiteracy. There are certainly plausible reasons for this.

First and foremost, children from disadvantaged families are often unable to attend schools due to a lack of financial resources. This explains why the number of illiterate children in most provinces here occurs at exponential levels. However, the presence of public reading parks will provide these impoverished children free access to informal education.

Through the reading materials supplied at these reading parks, children will not only learn basic literacy skills such as reading in their first language, but also gain first-hand literacy experiences. Child illiteracy rates can, therefore, be minimized, if not eradicated.

Second, it has been empirically confirmed that more access to books not only expedites literacy acquisition but also produces higher levels of literacy.

The problems of illiteracy in Papua and probably in other remote provinces are simply due to the absence of libraries (both in schools and outside) as well as reading parks facilitated by both local and central government.

By contrast, research on literacy also shows that, in general, children living in areas where access to books is easily found have higher literacy skills.

In addition, reading parks create a relaxed reading ambience. Unlike in school environments, where too often reading is obligatory and children are held accountable for what they have read (e.g. through home assignments and tests), reading in the public reading parks is voluntary; that is, students read because they want to — without obligation, accountability or coercion.

They also freely choose the books they love to read; they can also shift to other reading topics and other reading genres if they find what they’re reading mind-numbing.

In other words, they read not to satisfy others’ interests but rather to satisfy their own inquisitiveness and imagination about their own world.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence demonstrating that reading based on one’s willingness (voluntarily) in a stress-free environment helps to accelerate literacy development.

The above evidence strengthens the oft-made claim that the acquisition of a child’s first language and even second language can take place without direct instruction, which is commonly obtained from formal schooling.

It also suggests that language can be acquired effectively through what children read in print, and that providing those who have not yet had the privilege of gaining access to a print-rich environment is of paramount importance to ensure rapid literacy development and to curtail child illiteracy rates.

Nevertheless, despite the government and public’s increasing awareness of the importance of curbing illiteracy through the establishment of reading parks, the sad news is that some 57 regencies/municipalities do not have public reading parks (Kompas, Aug. 12). This shouldn’t be the case, if the government is willing to spend a large portion of the state budget on the public reading-park program.

With the public’s cognizance of the vital role of books in their lives and, more importantly, with research evidence continuing to accumulate buttressing the positive impact of print-rich environments on children’s literacy development, the government’s half-hearted support for the establishment of public reading parks in certain regions in the country will have detrimental consequences for the future fate of our younger generations.

The writer is an associate professor at Atma Jaya Catholic University, Jakarta. He is also chief editor of the Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching.

2) Mimika picks 11 regency candidate pairs
The Jakarta Post, Jayapura, Papua | Sat, 08/24/2013 6:20 AM | Archipelago
The Mimika Regional Elections Commission (KPUD) in a plenary meeting on Thursday evening decided on 11 regency candidate pairs who will contest the Mimika regency election slated for Oct. 8 this year.
According to Mimika KPUD head Adam Arisoy, six of the 11 candidate pairs are nominated by political parties and the rest are independent candidates.
The six pairs nominated by political parties are Athanius Allo Rafra and Titus Natkime; Yoseph Yopi Kilangin and Andi Tarejemin; Yamenal Paul Maniagasi and Parjono; Abdul Muis and Hans Magal; Phiter Yan Magal and Philipus Wakerkwa; and Trifenal Tinal and Anastasia Tekege.
The independent candidate pairs are Agapitus Mairimau and Ust. Setiyono; Alfred Douw and Lalu Suryadarma; Samuel Farwas and Virgo Solossa; Agustinus Anggaibak and La Sarudi; and Eltinus Omaleng and Yohanis Basang.
Mimika is one of the richest regencies in Indonesia with an annual budget of around Rp 1.4 trillion (US$147 million).
It is also home to the biggest gold mine in the world, operated by PT Freeport Indonesia, which employs up to 22,000 workers.
Mimika gained autonomy status from Fakfak regency based on Law No. 45/1999, dated March 18, 2000.
Based on Home Ministerial Decree No. 11/2011, Mimika is inhabited by 191,232 people, but based on the fixed voters list during the Papua gubernatorial election in 2012, it was inhabited by 336,000 people and the number of eligible voters was 175,987.
3)  Combatting HIV/AIDS is not proceeding well in parts of Papua
JUBI, 17 August 2013

Efforts to deal with the spread of HIV/AIDS are clearly being made in many cities and districts in the Province of Papua. However, in the sub-district of Dogiyai, local people are concerned that the local government is not seriously dealing with this deadly virus.

A youth leader, Laurensius  Tebay, said this week that dealing with this disease must be top priority. It is essential to spread information to the people that this virus is deadly and incurable. 'We very much hope that the local government will deal with this problem with the seriousness that it merits,' he said.

He said that as yet there have been no activities to inform people about the danger of the spread of HIV and AIDS, adding that this was the case in ten local areas. 'We are very disappointed that the local authorities are failing to deal with AIDS with the necessary urgency.'

He said that spreading information and examining people with regard to HIV/AIDS has been proceeding well in the District of Paniai during the past month and this should be done in all the other areas, including the sub-district of Dogiyai. 'While  this is not something that should be made compulsory, the authorities should do everything possible to persuade people about how important it is to be examined.'

These views were confirmed in  remarks made by the head of the Department to Combat HIV/AIDS, Kristianus Tebai who admitted that dealing with AIDS is a critically important part of the work of the health authorities. 'Since I was recently appointed to this job, I have discovered that there are many issues that are not being dealt with properly. We are doing everything we can to improve work on this programme,' he told JUBI. He said that combating the disease was going well in some sub-districts but not yet in the sub-district of Dogiyai.'

[Translated by TAPOL]
4) MRP Recommendation on Jakarta-Papua Dialogue must be followed up

Bintang Papua, 24 August 2013

Jayapura: The Deputy Director of the Alliance of Democracy for Papua (ALDP), Yuman Corona, has called on all Papuans at home and abroad to press for the implementation of the recommendation by the Majelis Rakyat  Papua (Papuan People's Council) that  the correct way to solve the Papuan problem is by means of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

'At a plenary session held on 12 August 2013, the MRP said that Special Autonomy for Papua (OTSUS) has  been a failure and there should be a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua. '

As has already been reported, the MRP called on the President, the Governor of Papua and the Governor of West Papua to carry  this recommendation forward. The MRP recommendation stated that Dialogue should occur within the next sixty days.

In this connection, the ALDP, as part of civil society in Papua, made the following points:

1. The MRP which is the representative body of the Papuan people as stipulated in Law 21/2001, must be consistent and focus on the recommendation it adopted at its plenary sessions for a dialogue to take place.

2.  Fully supports the policy and  position adopted by the MRP which needs to be publicised to all the Papuan people.

The DPRP (Legislative Assembly of West Papua ) and the  DPR PB (Legislative Assembly of Papua) 'should both support the MRP recommendation  and keep in close communication with the MPR.and convene plenary sessions in order to set up a PANSUS (Special Committee) for the Jakarta-Papua Dialogue.

It  further called on the Governor of Papua and the Governor of West Papua to fully support the  recommendation of the MRP and maintain close communications with the MRP (Papua) and the MRPB (West Papua) in order to work out their strategy  and to make the question of Dialogue their top priority.

Furthermore, the President of the Republic of Indonesia should fully support  the recommendation of the MRP for Dialogue as the way to solve the problem of West Papua in accordance with what he said in his State Address on 16 August  2011 regarding the resolution of the question of Papua and should set up a special committee in preparation for the Jakarta-Papua Dialogue and hold talks with various elements in Papua and Jakarta.

Furthermore, the DPR RI (National Parliament ) and the DPD RI (Assembly of Regional  Representatives)  should express their full support for the recommendation of the MRP as the way to resolve the Papuan issue. Commission 1 of Parliament should discuss this matter with the various political groups and commissions  to declare their support for Jakarta-Papua Dialogue in order to resolve the Papuan issue.

Finally, he said: 'Why do we (ALDP) support the idea of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua? Because this is the way to solve the problem without resorting to the use of violence. It is our vision to promote justice and a democratic process  in Papua  The MRP which is a legal institution  must act to find the best possible solution for Papua.'

[Translated by TAPOL]

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