High school in South Sumatra breaks new ground with radio station
By Channel NewsAsia’s Trixia Carungcong in Sumatra | Posted: 15 February 2007 2131 hrs
INDONESIA: One of the top high schools in Indonesia’s South Sumatra province has launched a radio station that is breaking new ground.
High school students in Sekayu take to the airwaves at the launch of their community radio station.
Called the Suara Smanda or Voice of Smanda, the station will air programmes to reach out to the student population and beyond.
In times of disasters, it will also help disseminate information to the public and coordinate emergency response.
The area experiences widespread flooding during severe monsoon seasons as well as annual forest fires.
While there are many community radio stations across Indonesia, this project is unique – it is the first radio station in Indonesia to be run by high school students and teachers.
Apart from its use in warning people during disasters, it will serve as a platform for informing the community about current affairs and educating them about social and development issues.
While many homes have television sets, radio is still the most popular medium in the province.
John Pederson, English Teaching Assistant, said: “It has the potential to bring in news from Jakarta, from Singapore from anywhere in the world with a very simple receiver. It can broadcast to the Sekayu community, providing an immediate benefit to the community and it also gives students an idea of what quality journalism sounds like.”
Students will get the latest news from the newly built internet café, which has 10 computers with broadband access.
The internet cafe and radio station were built by an NGO in Singapore, with help from local authorities and an Indonesian foundation.
They hope to improve the quality of education by creating a model school for the province.
Eddy Henry, Sampoerna Foundation’s Program and Alumni Affairs Director, said: “This is just a start. The education problem in Indonesia is such a big problem and the Ministry of Education cannot do the work itself and neither can Sampoerna Foundation. So we are trying to gather support firstly from Lien Aid and Lien Foundation from Singapore to help us work together to help the other areas of education.”
Organisers hope that in the long run, the students will feel empowered to make a difference in their community.
Students at the Radio Ed Launch Event wrote powerful songs about the effects of deforestation, poverty and corruption. With the help of Green Radio, their songs also became part of the solution to these problems. Each group that performed at the launch event on May 27th at Green Radio studios on Jalan Utan Kayu (click here to see video or here for pictures) won a tree sponsorship from Green Radio’s Friends of the Forest Program – and so can you! Click here to learn how it works.
There has never been a more important time for our youth to turn information into action. The way we respond to reports about issues like global warming and the food crisis will determine the fate of the world we live in – and how much longer we will even have that privileged. Students in Jakarta are taking the lead in changing the world – one song at a time – with the help of a Radio Ed activity called “Radio Idol.”
Over 150 students and teachers gathered at Green Radio in East Jakarta last week to hear students from SMA3 perform Radio Idol songs that they wrote themselves after listing to news stories from Asia Calling.
Watch for yourself. Check out Video of the performances!
And Click here to download the Radio Ed teachers packets, which includes the Radio Idol lesson plan and other activities you can use to use real radio broadcasts to practice your English while learning about the latest headlines from around Asia.
The courtyard at SMA5 Bukittinggi overlooks the majestic mountain peaks, rolling rice fields, and scenic country roads for which the area is so famous. I would have enjoyed more time exploring this bucolic beauty, but Pak Haswin, the on-sight Radio Ed guru, kept me on task during my visit last week.
Before we stepped into the classroom, however, we took a step back to consider the feedback we’ve been getting about Radio Ed’s potential as a prep tool for the national exams. As Ibu Poppy stated during my visit to Bandung:
The most important part is to relate the materials with our present (national) standards.
Pak Haswin is responsible for translating these standards into curriculum that will prepare the entire 12th grade class of SMA 5 Bukittinggi for the national exam in May. We discussed the challenges of this process with Ibu Dian, the headmaster at SMA 5.
Listening and speaking hu? Sounds like radio to me!
If only it were that easy. The strengths of our program definitely match up with the weaknesses of the national curriculum. It’s just a matter of figuring out the most effective – and easiest – way to tune in to this potential. In other words, I’m the one that ended up with homework from this visit!
Inside the classroom, Pak Haswin was responding to the students’ interests as well as their needs. He chose a story about volcanoes for his Radio Ed session. The first interview in the story featured a villager from Java discussing why she was not afraid to live near an
active volcano. When she finished, Pak Haswin paused the CD, pointed out the window at the peak in the distance and asked with a rueful smile, “So what about you? Are you afraid to live so close to an active volcano?”