A group of 20 university lecturers from around Indonesia have attended an intensive three-week course in early-childhood education and academic writing at the University of Eastern Finland.
The group comprised a mix of experts in early childhood education, primary education and psychology from universities across Indonesia. They came to Finland as part of an initiative by the Indonesian education authorities to enhance the country's academic programmes in childhood education with best practises from abroad.
The group of 20 education experts spend three weeks studying in the city of Joensuu.
Professor Ritva Kantelinen from the University of Eastern Finland led the three-week course, which focused on both childhood education and academic writing.
"The participants came from many parts of Indonesia and brought different areas of specialization, including curriculum development and language learning," she says. "In addition to learning about Finnish childhood-education practises, they also wanted to improve their skills in writing academic articles."
The group looked closely at Finland's national education curriculum, with visits to both kindergartens and a primary school included as part of the course. They also spent time studying play as a method of educating young children.
"I've learnt so many things about the education system in Finland to share with my students and colleagues back home," says Endah Silawati, a senior lecturer in early childhood education at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia in Bandung, the capital of West Java.
"I've learned a lot off campus too," she says. "For instance, waste management in Finland is very detailed, and you have to separate five different kinds of items. This would be very good to be implemented in Indonesia too!"
Donny Hendrawan is Head of Developmental Psychology at Universitas Indonesia in Depok, West Java. He was impressed by the way Finnish academics interact with their students.
"I love the way all the lecturers try to encourage and help each student to fulfil their individual goals," he says. "This was a very valuable insight for me and it will enrich my teaching style when I get back home. I'll try to share my experiences in Finland with my colleagues, my students, the parents of early-age children, and all the pre-school teachers I know."
"I also got great feedback on how to improve my next research proposal in the field of early-childhood education. Hopefully I'll even have a chance to collaborate with the lecturers here at the University of Eastern Finland in the future."
Photos: Endah Silawati
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