Enhancing Public Services: USAID ERAT Broadens Educational Access for Children in Kota Serang

Program Year: 2024

Education is a fundamental right in Indonesia, but many children remain out of school, and reintegration into the educational system is challenging. To break down barriers and ensure every child has access to education, innovative programs are crucial. Our USAID-funded ERAT (Effective, Efficient, and Strong Government) program supports the government in realizing this right.

Kota Serang, one of USAID ERAT locations in Banten province, has achieved near-universal school enrollment for 7–12-year-olds (99.6%, provincial average: 99.5%). However, the participation rate dropped significantly for teenagers (only 94.9% for 13-15 years old and 61.9% for 16-18 years old) in 2021. These are lower than the provincial averages of 96.8% and 68.9%, respectively.

After successfully bringing 133 youth back to schools in July 2023, the Government of Kota Serang, with USAID ERAT’s support, reinstated 22 more children back into the education system in November 2023. This is a part of the “Aje Kendor Sekolah” (Don’t Stop Schooling) program, launched by the mayor of Kota Serang in September 2022 when USAID ERAT facilitated a discussion about the 12-Year Compulsory Education program. Through a Mayor’s Decree, a working group was formed as a collaboration between the city government, the private sector, and universities.

“With the collaborative support of USAID ERAT and the Government of Kota Serang, this program is fundamentally dedicated to addressing out-of-school cases. Its primary objective is to prioritize the restoration of children’s rights, specifically focusing on enabling those of school age to re-enter the educational system,” said the Mayor of Kota Serang, Syafrudin, during the Aje Kendor Sekolah program launch. While the program has not yet reached all 7,669 children who remain out of school, the government is determined to ensure all children have the right to education.

Previously, the Government of Kota Serang did not have complete data on how many children were actually out of school. USAID ERAT has facilitated the working group to learn from its peers in Pekalongan (Central Java), which has a similar program, that also includes how to verify and validate the number of out-of-school children through sub-district and village offices. This effort led to the compilation and verification of out-of-school children. The working group also started approaching the children and their families to discuss returning to school and, subsequently, contacted schools that could accept them.

Additionally, the USAID ERAT facilitated discussions with the private sector, specifically the National Zakat Agency (Badan Zakat Nasional, BAZNAS) and a state-owned bank, Bank Jabar Banten (BJB), to gain more support for the Aje Kendor Sekolah program. As a result, all children who are reinstated back to school will receive needed school supplies from the BAZNAS in Serang and a savings fund of Rp500,000 from BJB.

While not all reintegrated children can seamlessly transition into their respective grade levels, our programs are committed to addressing their challenges. USAID ERAT and the Government of Kota Serang are committed to ensuring all youth have and can access their basic right to education.

Related locations: Indonesia
Related programs: Good Governance

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