November 28, 2006

President Bush Visits Indonesia Education Programs

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush met with students and teachers in Bogor, Indonesia to observe progress on the multiyear Decentralized Basic Education (DBE) program, a U.S. government-funded education assistance initiative.

RTI International is leading implementation of the school and district management component of the DBE program, the Education Development Center is assisting with modernization of Indonesia's curriculum and teacher training systems, and Save the Children's assistance is focused on providing children with an education that is more relevant to the working world.

"It was a great opportunity for our respective teams to demonstrate this successful program to President Bush," said Dan Moulton, leader of RTI's DBE team. "USAID's programs have made meaningful contributions to the quality of education in partner districts, schools and classrooms. The willingness of our Indonesian partners to adopt new approaches has been a key underpinning of our success."

The $157 million DBE program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was started in April 2005 to help local districts manage and improve schools previously run by the national government. DBE is now working with 29 local governments in seven provinces, serving more than 530 schools, 5,600 educators, and 110,000 students and will be active until spring 2010.

The DBE program represents a broadening and deepening of an earlier USAID program also being implemented by RTI, the Managing Basic Education (MBE) project. MBE works in 23 districts in three Indonesian provinces, serving more than 400 schools.

"Since their inception, the MBE and DBE programs have worked hard to help our Indonesian partners improve education in Indonesia," added Stuart Weston, leader of the RTI MBE team. "We've seen clear, tangible evidence of improvement."

During his stop in Indonesia to meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President Bush, and First Ladies Laura Bush and Ani Yuhoyono, visited a classroom set up for the event and met with students and teachers working on science and literacy lessons in both early and upper grades.

The DBE program works to get local communities to take more responsibility for achievement in their schools. Trainers also are working with school personnel and community leaders to develop education plans, build education transparency and monitor progress.

The program works to improve basic education for Indonesian children by creating a richer learning environment and equipping students with practical skills, knowledge and important competencies such as planning and problem solving. The educators focus on participatory learning that encourages demonstration of knowledge and skills in different contexts.