Navigator College’s partnership in Indonesia
The College has an amazing school partnership with Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungun (GKPS) high school (SMA) in Pematang Raya, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Through this partnership, we hope to have a more global approach to teaching and learning, through the understanding of ‘social conscience’ and ‘differences’.
Year 11 Service Learning Trip
Each year a group of Year 11 students fly to Indonesia accompanied by teaching staff to involve themselves in teaching English and sharing their lives and faith with the SMA GKPS students and Maraitha Orphanage. SMA GKPS have had a decline in numbers over recent years, reducing from 900 to around 300 students. The authorities suggest this has been due to the lack of quality of education and lack of school resources. It is with hope that our partnership will build a level of status to the school in the area and help the numbers to rise once again. Each year the Navigator College staff and students take over teaching resources (which they have raised money for throughout the year) and share teaching methodologies which help to enhance the quality of education. The Orphanage is doing well, having a number of sponsors from other Lutheran organisation affiliations. However the Orphanage benefit from Navigator College student support with activities such as gardening, cleaning, cooking, games, teaching English, teaching computing, and teaching sports. We feel this experience is of great benefit our students. They are able to learn much about the Indonesian culture, tradition and way of life while they are there. Additionally, the staff and students of SMA GKPS can also learn much about Australian schooling and our version of best pedagogic practice, but more so about the idiosyncrasies of Australian tradition we take for granted. Our hope is for our staff and students to interact in such a way that we can all teach each other.
“We knew and hoped the students would be affected by their visit but in no way realised the extent to which they wanted to change their lives for the better” said Mrs. Mathwin-Cox.
Those who have been on this service learning trip experienced shock at the way we live in Australia and return with a new outlook on their life.
“I felt selfish about everything when I got home, seeing how little they had in Indonesia, but they were still happy” said Hayden.
“I felt guilty, my house is so huge and I took my family for granted”, said Karhlie.
“The trip wasn’t for leisure, we witnessed stuff that broke us and changed us. The trip’s not really ended just because we’re home, the things we learnt keep coming back” said Katelyn.
The trip is purposeful and develops each student to recognise their personal position in a global society. We knew and hoped that the students would be affected by their visit but in no way realised the extent to which they wanted to change their lives for the better once they returned to Australia. The culture shock they experience is one that leads them to realise the importance of family relationships, to appreciate the blessings they have in their own lives and to want to make a difference in the lives of those who are not as fortunate as they are. The student’s bless the hearts of so many on these Service Learning trips and in doing so, change lives in the process.
Navigator College also sponsor two English speaking SMA GKPS staff members to visit our College in Port Lincoln for four weeks each year, in order for them to assist in teaching our students Indonesian, observe our teachers educating our students and to engage in professional learning they may not otherwise have access to. It is expected that the two staff members will return to Pematang Raya and conduct further Professional Development to their teaching peers at SMA GKPS School. In addition, we offer a scholarship to one student from the SMA GKPS School, who has demonstrated advanced skills in learning the English language, to accompany the 2 teachers to Australia, in order to progress his/her English further.
The activities of Navigator College are to raise the educational standards and outcomes for all students who engage in this initiative, both in Indonesia and Australia. Whilst the Guests are here in Port Lincoln, they are able to visit with other schools in the district. They all learnt by the interactions with the Indonesian guests and the sharing of culture and life in general. Whilst we, in Australia are rich in terms of wealth, our Indonesian brothers and sisters are rich in family and love for each other.
This Navigator College Service Learning initiative is exciting, directed and poignant to the personal development of our students and the greater community.