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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Story of Aceh Kids

The long and arduous conflict in Aceh has created so much sufferings and has influenced the life of thousands civilian victims. Primary education is one of the civic life institutions that have been severely impacted. Many schools were set on fire and burnt out to ashes throughout Aceh. Children refugees and their families were forced to leave their villages of fear for their life. Many of them including those who managed to come back later have lost their access to the limited education facility they previously had. School burnings and demolitions are not only criminal but also inhumane act. In 1998-2003, some 546 schools were burnt down in Aceh (Aceh Office of Education).The action has a long term damage of a bigger magnitude to education in Aceh. It is not only a loss of buildings. It is a mass killing of hopes belonging to thousands of innocent children for basic education and a better future. Education and the culture of learning are principle foundation for a generation to survive and to improve. Additionally, some 514 teachers left Aceh due to the conflict According to the Office of Education and Statistical Bureau in Aceh, there were 40,000 students dropped out of high school; 20,000 dropped out of middle schools and 70,467 dropped out of primary school in 2003. This is certainly staggering number. Other record shows that 240,884 children between the ages of four to six years old are lacking access to Pre School and primary education. Some 13,994 children of seven to twelve years old and 1, 904 children of thirteen to fifteen years old have never ever been to school. In addition, quoting the official number only, there are 63,328 persons of productive age (10 to 44 years old ) are illiterate and a total of 267,000 people or approximately 6.35 percent of total Acehnese population are still illiterate. The 26 December 2004 great quake and tsunami had further worsened the education physical and non-physical condition in Aceh. Aceh Office of Education recorded that not less than 1,341 (27.9%) of 4,809 schools building were destroyed, 1,539 teachers and 86,545 students of different ages were missing or dead from the catastrophe. These facts and conditions require immediate action from every of us. Actions beyond physical reconstruction of the school buildings are urgently required. The Iqra Reading Society is calling everyone's attention to this situation. We invite and welcome everyone's participation to action. Let us give these unfortunate children a chance and encouragement to open the doors to knowledge. Let us take them closer to literacy and learning tradition and support them with an environment to learn. Let us give them books so they can flourish, grow and work on their own to improve their future. We have to work together to nurture an educated generation in Aceh. A reading and learning Generation, the Iqra Generation! More Detail about Aceh Kids please visit :