The Hope Behind the Virtual Discussion of US-Indonesia on Education: Building a Country from the East of Indonesia – The Indonesian Embassy to the United States and the Kitong Bisa Foundation had held a Virtual Discussion Forum on US – Indonesia Education (23/05/2022) with a theme “Building a Country from Eastern Indonesia; Kitong be Able to!”. This forum discusses thoroughly what things can be adapted and done by the two countries, America and Indonesia in terms of education, especially its segmentation in eastern Indonesia, more precisely, Papua.

According to Sade Bimantara, as a Deputy Ambassador of Indonesia to the United States, that this event is an important part of the government’s concern in participating in encouraging the development of education in Indonesia, which has so far had serious obstacles due to the protracted Covid-19 forging. So that the development of comprehensive education at the forefront of Indonesia, including in areas that are difficult to access, is a key that cannot be ignored. Education in Eastern Indonesia (especially Papua) is a priority in all aspects, both infrastructure, science, and other educational ecosystems.

At this point, education and Papua are like two sides of a coin that cannot be separated. The future of Papua lies in the extent to which education has developed in the eastern tip of Indonesia.

 According to Billy Mambrasar, who was one of the speakers in the discussion, he explained that unlike before, now children from Eastern Indonesia have progressed and worked on the national and international levels. There is a Papuan woman who is a quantum physicist in the United States, there is a Ternate son who is a valedictorian speaker at America’s best engineering campus, and an NTT princess who has managed to penetrate the world of logistics to America.

He added that these are just a few of the other extraordinary stories he knows of. Many parties have contributed to the development of education and human resources in Eastern Indonesia, including various Education Foundations. One of them is Isaschar Mambrasar. The figure who has succeeded in educating thousands of Papuan children to the global stage in recent years has been in the spotlight of many circles in Indonesia in general, and Papua in particular.

Isac, who is a pensionary teacher in the field of English studies, has devoted himself for more than 30 years as a teacher at the Christian Educator Foundation School in Serui.

“Throughout 30 years of working, I was an honorary teacher,” said Isac, who is still transmitting his knowledge by opening an English course by developing the Kitong Bisa Foundation, in the moment of the discussion.

Isac reminded the teacher’s struggle is not only to teach and finish, but also to shape the mentality of students, so that they are better.

“Now the allowance for teacher is very big. When being a teacher, I just received rice as a  wage. So, it’s lamentable if there are still many teachers who leave their assignments, especially in remote villages,” he said.

In another context, according to Popy Rufaidah, as a  Education and Culture Attache of the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC, in the discussion explained that the challenges of education in Eastern Indonesia, especially Papua, are gradually moving towards an educational pattern with a hybrid character, so that educational elements are important for open oneself to carry out educational development with the skills of openness to new methods, novelty of material, experience, and external challenges in the world of education.

 The event was so lively attended by many people through the Zoom Meeting forum. This event, which is important to become hope for the younger generation of Papua, is at least a point of departure to increase the passion for education in Papua. Passion for education that will make Papua better, more advanced, and more prosperous.

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