Lamek Dowansiba’s Silent Way, Refuses to Become a Civil Servant for the sake of Establishing a Reading House for Papuan Children – Lamek Dowansiba, a youth from Manokwari, chose to develop reading houses for Papuan children in a number of areas. He refused to become a civil servant (PNS) like other youths. For Lamek, the knowledge he has since studying at the campus and becoming an activist in Manokwari can be better developed by teaching Papuan children who have dropped out of school, who are still at an early age and so on.

“So far we have managed around 1,000 children who are members of the Papuan Reading Community Reading House or KSMP,” said Lamek, Saturday (12/11/2022).

The KSMP Reading Houses are spread across Manokwari District, Arfak Mountains District, South Manokwari, Bintuni Bay, Sorong and Tambrauw Regencies. The reading house teaches Papuan children who have a shortage of funds to continue their formal education.

“Frankly, what we have been doing so far has been widely accepted by all groups in society. But we are still walking on a quiet path,” he said.

It’s just that, said Lamek, now they are encountering obstacles after the number of children being taught has increased and the locations are no longer spread close together. Moreover, they experience limited teaching staff and government support. “The number of teachers we have is around 150. To be honest, we have limited teaching staff,” said Lamek

The government only focuses on formal education. Lamek, who is a former Chair of the Manokwari Branch of the Indonesian National Student Movement (GMNI), thinks that the local government has so far only focused on formal education.

“This government should not only focus on formal education, non-formal education also needs to be a concern. This is the mandate of Law Number 40 concerning the National Education System,” explained Dowansiba.

Meanwhile, said Lamek, speaking of universal education, there is formal education in the school environment, as well as non-formal education outside of school and informal education in the family environment.

“I see that so far the government has been unfairly pushing three important points in this education simultaneously, especially in this area,” he explained.

According to Lamek, what is currently happening is that the local government in West Papua is more focused on spending big money to send one or two Papuan children to school. However, tens to hundreds of Papuan children, both in cities and in villages to the interior, drop out of school because of a lack of education costs.

“What does it mean that the government gives birth to one or two doctors, professors and also pilots but tens or even hundreds of Papuan children cannot read and write, drop out of school because of a lack of funds for schooling,” he said.

“I also asked the local government regarding the scholarship assistance that has been given to several people studying abroad, what are the results, are those who have been funded returning to develop the country?” Lamek said.

He said, don’t let the government waste money on sending one or two people to school but cannot contribute to development in the Land of Papua.

Through reading houses, with the help of books from various parties, Lamek does not only teach Papuan children about reading and writing. In fact, at every moment, he imparts local knowledge based on Papuan stories to every child he teaches. “We cannot change this curriculum to include Papuan local content which is taught to the younger generation. Through the reading house we also present local Papuan stories to our younger siblings,” he said.

Lamek hopes that the West Papua Provincial Government and every regional government in West Papua can push for regulations that focus on Papuan local content in formal educational institutions.

“Educational engineering must take place, one of which is regional myth stories, Papuan local content must be encouraged in formal educational institutions, we have the government to develop that,” said Lamek.

He also hopes that the government sees non-formal educational institutions such as reading houses or reading communities in West Papua so far as strategic partners, not each one running alone. “Not only do we have a reading house, many communities have built reading houses in Manokwari, especially West Papua in general. The government here should make it a strategic partner,” he said.

“I can honestly convey the facts on the ground that many Papuan children do not know how to read and write. Even though we were only in class III SD, we could already recognize reading, writing and arithmetic, but the current situation is very reversed. Even though we are in an all-digital era.” he said.

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