Papua is a land of the many ambivalence. With its abundant resources, it also posses many challenging features which sometimes halted the development. It has been, in many ways, face a lot of factors that makes it backwards in development. Including the education of the Papuan children.
The Papuan children are falling behind compared to the children in more advanced education level in other parts of Indonesia. There has been a common misunderstanding from most people that they are the least accomplished students in the nation. Most people, except Yohanes Surya.
Yohanes Surya, the founder of the Asian Science and Mathematics Olympiad for Primary School (ASMOPS) and Surya Institute believes that no one is stupid. No student is incapable, there’s only inadequate methods of teaching.
To prove his belief, he went to Papua to find the students who have failed in many classes and severely falling behind in their studies. He wants to prove that with the right methods of teaching, any student can absorb any lessons and he believes that the Papuan children are not any less smart than kids in other more developed areas, as long as they are given the same access.
With the permission of their parents, the school and the local government, 27 Papuan children were selected and brought to Surya Institute in Tangerang. They were randomly selected from Tolikara, Waropen, Sorong Selatan, Lani Jaya, and Wamena.
Within 6 months, the have excelled and mastered the lessons for first to sixth grade elementary school. One kid had previously failed 4 times to pass the second grade of elementary, and now has become the national winner of a math Olympic and the national winner of robotic competition.
These children from the most remote villages, where everyone still wear koteka (traditional clothing made from traditionally processed plants) would then become the winners of the 2011 ASMOPS. The math Olympic was participated by 131 participants from all over Asia and an internationally acclaimed competition.
These amazing Papuan children are the gold medalists which are Kristian Murib (Wamena), Merlin Kogoya (Tolikara), Kohoin Marandey (South Sorong), and Ayu Rogi (Waropen). The silver medalists which are Syors Srefle (South Sorong), Natalisa Dori (Waropen), Nikolaus Taote (Mimika), and Emon Wakerwa (Tolikara). While the bronze medalists are Alex Wanimbo (Lani Jaya), Boni Logo (Wamena), and Ester Aifufu (South Sorong).
For Kristian Murib, the 2011 medal was his second win after his bronze medal in National Science Olympic of 2011 in Manado, North Sulawesi. The other student, Kohoin Mrandey, is a fatherless child from an under privilege family.
Yohanes Surya explains that the Papuan children have amazing potentials and capacity. Fortunately, there are still so many Papuan children who can’t even count, moreover get ahead of their lesson in Math. Hence we need to push forward the implementation of the right methods to teach. Especially since it has been proven that what every kids need is the chance to learn in the best way possible.