Improving Papua Literacy with Books Using Local Dialects

Papua literacy is considered as one of the lowest in Indonesia. With so many challenges, it is necessary to gather solutions to solve these problems.

The Organization of Nature Conservationist of Padjadjaran University (Palawa UNPAD) has one of the solution. In their education research conducted in Soanggama village, Papua, it has been revealed that one of the biggest reasons of the high number for illiteracy is the absence of books with local dialect, the Dani language.

The research was conducted through database of the social factors of literacy challenges in Papua. The Nemangkawi expedition team of Palawa UNPAD found that the passion for the children in Soanggama is high. However, they are having difficulties to learn how to read when they don’t even know the language. There is the need for books which can be understood by the kids. Hence they have developed books that are using Dani dialect.

The research has been carried out since 18 November of 2016 and the research team from palawa UNPAD which consists of Anisa Asri (21), Syarifudin Nur (20), Rizki Mulia (21), and Teresa Erika (19) have came back to Bandung in early December of 2016. The Team Leader of Nemangkawi expedition of Palawa UNPAD, Ichsan Lovano Pradewa explained that they are planning to publish a storybook with Dani dialect.

The book would be brought and given by the Nemangkawi expedition team before the went forward to hike the Jayawijaya mountain in January 2017. These books would definitely become the boost for the learning spirit of the children in Soanggama village. They are hoping that the book can support the improvement of Papua literacy, especially in Soanggama village.

papua literacy
Public Elementary School of Soanggama via

Soanggama is a village in the middle of the Jayawijaya mountains, more precisely in Hitadipa District, Intan Jaya Regency. The majority of the people in this village speaks Dani and only a small number understand Indonesian.

The village only have one school, the Soanggama Public Elementary School to provide education for several villages at once. Although that area already has an adequate physical building and the awareness of the parents to support their children’s education, there are still many challenges that make it difficult to implement the national curriculum to Soanggama Elementary School. Moreover with the lack of books in their dialect.

The total of four teachers in Soanggama Elementary School had come up with love and affection based education which is considered fit for Soanggama. The four teachers, Arnoll, Sugeng, Andika and Piyus have teach all subjects in six different classes. They also have to act as a multi-functional guardian, whether to nurse sick students, or becoming a counselor for family problems of their students. In return, their love and affections are paid forward by the students by bringing the teachers their family harvest or providing water from a nearby water spring when there’s drought.


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