Nine vocational schools (SMK) partners of the SEAMEO BIOTROP SMARTS-BE mentoring program officially declared as participating in the 2021 SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award competition, through an Online Kick-Off Meeting on 13 July 2021. These schools are the target schools in the SEAMEO BIOTROP SMARTS-BE Program (Program of Independent School for Educational Vegetables and Fruit Plants Production). The SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award is an award program for schools launched by SEAMEO (the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT Japan) and the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education. The SEAMEO-Japan Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Award was aimed to promote best practices that support ESD in schools across Southeast Asia. The ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) is defined as “a learning process (or teaching approach) based on ideal standards and principles that emphasize sustainability aspects and pay attention to all levels and types of learning method to provide quality education and sustainable human development, including learning to know, learning to be, learning to live together, learning to do and learning to transform oneself and society.
In carrying out the mentoring program, SEAMEO BIOTROP formed a technical mentoring team consisted of researchers, creative teams, and administrative staff. Nine Vocational Schools (SMK) and their respective proposed themes to participate in the SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award competition were:
1. SMKN 2 Slawi with the theme “Inter-collaboration Education in the Crisis of Covid-19”;
2. SMKN 1 Tulungagung with the theme “Productive Environmental Development: Quality Education Opportunities in the Covid-19 Crisis Era”;
3. SMK PPN Saree with the theme “Developing Intensive Lemon Orchards and Its Derivative Products during the Covid-19 Pandemic”;
4. SMKN 2 Metro with the theme “Entrepreneur Coaching School in the New Normal Era”;
5. SMKN 1 Cibadak with the theme “Teaching Factory Lemon California in the Covid-19 Crisis Era”;
6. SMKN 1 Pacet with the theme “Food Security Partnership to Support Agro-Eco-Edu Tourism in the Covid-19 Pandemic”;
7. SMK PPN Mataram with the theme “Guided, Adaptive and Inclusive Learning Strategies to Strengthen the Quality of Education and Entrepreneurship in Schools”;
8. SMKN 2 Subang with the theme “How to Change Education System by using the IT”;
9. SMKN 63 Jakarta with the theme “Adaptive and Resilience Entrepreneurship Education in Urban Areas for Crisis Management of Covid-19”.
The mentoring activities included a briefing on theme selection, planning, writing materials, preparation for filling out registration forms, video production, reviewing materials to be submitted, and registration with the SEAMEO Secretariat. Through these mentoring activities, it is expected that at least one SMK can receive the SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award in 2021.
The Deputy Director for Administration of SEAMEO BIOTROP, Dr Perdinan, delivered the opening remarks on behalf of the Director of SEAMEO BIOTROP. “Many thanks to the colleagues who participate in this Kick-Off Meeting to discuss about SEAMEO BIOTROP's initiative in promoting the work of SMK colleagues in the SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award. We thank our colleagues from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, through its Bureau of Cooperation and Public Relation (BKHM), for their continuous support so that we can collaborate with SMK”. Dr Perdinan also expressed his expectation that in the future, SMK would invite SEAMEO BIOTROP for evaluating and suggesting the development of SMK to become independent schools. This matter must be highlighted in the SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award for sustainable education development. "It is also important to determine how we can package the work of SMK through the SMARTS-BE mentoring program with various unique highlighted features, which results will be beneficial in a sustainable manner and directly to the community," he added. Furthermore, Dr Perdinan also conveyed 3 important components in the development of education through the SMARTS-BE program, namely: 1) institutional support, from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, SMK, and SEAMEO BIOTROP; 2) funding support, started with the products development produced by SMK as Mikro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which supports funding sustainability; and 3) Human Resource support. Graduates of Junior High Schools are increasingly interested to join SMK as the government's role in supporting SMK are getting visible and stronger. Indonesia is expected to become an example for other countries in developing vocational schools by prioritizing independence.
The Kick-Off Meeting was continued with an explanation from the Coordinator of the SMARTS-BE program, Dr Supriyanto, about the chronologies and achievements of the SMARTS-BE Program. A subsequent discussion was held to dwell on the progress and obstacles experienced by the nine target schools in preparing materials for participating in the SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award competition.
The Kick-Off Meeting was also attended by the Bureau of Cooperation and Public Relations (BKHM) representatives and the Directorate of Vocational High School Development (PSMK) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia. (rf)