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Cablegate: Alumini Grant Brings English Teacher Training to New

VZCZCXRO1683
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0054 1210845
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300845Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0205
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0191
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0106
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0108
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0210

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000054

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/PD, ECA/P/A
JAKARTA FOR RELO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI SCUL KPAO OEXC PGOV ID
SUBJECT: ALUMINI GRANT BRINGS ENGLISH TEACHER TRAINING TO NEW
AUDIENCES IN SOUTH SULAWESI


1. (U) Summary: ConGen Surabaya's PAO recently traveled to
remote regions of South Sulawesi to attend English Teacher
Training Workshops organized by a participant in the Secondary
School Educators 2005 program. Ratna Haris from the Secondary
Educators State Alumni Association is using a $13,500 grant to
conduct 11 teacher training workshops all around the island of
Sulawesi, connecting with thousands of English teachers in many
areas that would otherwise not be reached by USG programs. This
project demonstrates how grants can have an important impact in
distant yet critical areas of Indonesia.

Sulawesi's Remote Interior
--------------------------------

2. (U) Toraja, a region in the north-central part of South
Sulawesi Province, does not have an airport and is accessible
only by a nine-hour automobile trip from the provincial capital
of Makassar. The area sees a small number of tourists, due to
its unique cultural practices involving funerals and interment
on cliff sides, but there is little other industry besides
agriculture and almost no opportunities for economic, cultural,
or academic exchange. However, during English Teacher Training
Workshops organized by Secondary School Educators Program
participant Ratna Haris April 18-19, Surabaya PAO witnessed a
genuine hunger for improvements in English language instruction.
Hundreds of teachers joined the workshop in the town of Makale,
and dozens more in neighboring Enrekang. The workshops
organized by Ratna Haris serve as a very cost-effective model
which demonstrates the potential of active State Alumni
Organizations.

Bang for the Buck
-----------------------

3. (U) A high school English teacher in Makassar, Ratna
participated in the Secondary School Educators Program in 2005.
In 2007, she received a State Alumni Grant for $13,500 to
conduct English teacher workshops throughout Sulawesi. So far
in FY 2008, Ratna has conducted seven teacher training workshops
and plans at least four more. The average attendance at the
workshops has been over 100, and some teachers have asked if
they can hold similar smaller workshops in their far-flung
villages. In addition to the training itself, participants
receive a packet of English teaching strategies and techniques.
Ratna also raises the profile of these events and improves the
chances of lasting commitment by inviting local education and
government officials to participate. Both workshops attended by
the PAO featured prominent government spokesmen proclaiming
their support for better English education in local classrooms.

Craving Native Speakers
------------------------------

4. (U) In isolated regions of Indonesia, native English speakers
are a big draw. With this in mind, Ratna reached out to English
Teaching Assistants (ETA), Fulbright English Language Fellows
(ELF), and Regional English Language Officers (RELO) in addition
to Consulate staff to speak at events. She told PAO that there
was a noticeable difference in attendance at seminars that
featured an American and those that did not. Following his
presentation on U.S. Education, PAO got a sense of the interest
people have in talking with Americans as he fielded many
questions about school systems in the U.S., training support for
American teachers, the No Child Left Behind Program, and dealing
with children whose native language may not be English. The
admiration these teachers had for the importance placed on
education in America was readily apparent, as was their desire
to improve English teaching in Indonesian classrooms. Ratna's
workshops are a clear example of the impact of programs such as
ETA, ELF, RELO, and Alumni Associations have in fostering mutual
understanding between Indonesians and Americans in Indonesia's
less well-known, far-flung regions.

MCCLELLAND

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