Schools in Sumba Barat have been closed since March and students have stayed home during this time. With COVID-19 protocols in place, schools in 'green zones' will be reopening in the second week of September. There are plans for a rotating system for students to come to school, in order to avoid having a full class or school during the initial days after reopening. Schools are ensuring hand washing spots and cleaning routines for classrooms.
For the past month, the Waliku team has been gearing up for the reopening of schools by preparing various training materials, including video tutorials of the updated Waliku mobile and web application.
On 18th August, we commenced a five-day training webinar with IT operators and principals from 21 schools in Wanokaka and Waikabubak that were already using Waliku. They were first trained on child safeguarding and data security/ privacy protocols in order to better their understanding of safely interacting with children. Then, they were introduced to the main features of the updated Waliku mobile and web application. Lastly they were provided a half day orientation on first aid in schools.
Participants were enthusiastic about the new features of the apps and could not wait to start practicing their newly learned skills. They practiced the apps with each other as a means of preparing for the next level of training to teachers. We are truly heartened by the willingness of school administrators to learn and play an active role in adopting technology as a means of ensuring the well-being of children under their care.
The Waliku is truly a product co-created with its users. We have updated Waliku by taking user-stories and feedback gathered from schools and the district office and turning their problems into opportunities.
Teacher attendance is closely related to student motivation to come to school, and hence identified by school and district administrators as equally important to monitor. Given this need, an updated feature in Waliku is staff attendance.
Reports are organised by school requirements for daily, weekly, monthly and year-to-date recapitulations. Absence rates are displayed for the whole school, as well as for individual classes and students, so that schools can look at the summary view as well as deep dive to understand the data. Monthly reports are in a format that schools already use, and new metrics provide information on students who are chronically absent, and who have dropped out.
In Sumba, teachers are required to do a home visit if a child has been absent for three or more days. This often poses a challenge due to constraints of distance, time and resources. The updated Waliku provides teachers with an absence follow-up tool that they can easily administer, on the phone or in person. The tool collects the main reason and complaints of the child and based on it, prompts them to advice parents on ways of caring for their child. For example, when a child is absent due to a fever and cough, the app prompts the teacher to advice fever and cough management, and a clinic visit if needed.
Schools will start using the updated Waliku in this academic year, in September, once they reopen from COVID-19 closures.
Waliku is one of the programming options for absence management systems in the Safe Back to School practitioners guide.
Save the Children, together with other agencies of the Global Education Cluster Strategic Advisory Group, has developed a Safe Back to School practitioners guide which aims to provide guidance to program teams on how to plan an integrated, participatory process for safe school reopening applicable in all contexts across the humanitarian-development nexus. The guide has been developed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic which led to many school closures and offers a unique multi-sectoral opportunity for governments and school communities to build back better and strengthen the resilience of their education systems. The guide builds on the UN Framework for Reopening Schools, and provides concrete actions that can be taken to operationalise these global policy recommendations.
As schools reopen or start a new academic year, it is vital schools have the necessary tools to monitor students’ return. Tracking students’ attendance and absence in order to better inform programmatic decisions, notably around child protection and health, will help to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 school closures. This is especially since the Waliku system records causes of absenteeism, which can be integrated with health and protection monitoring and response teams.
This article was originally published on Save the Children's Resource Centre.
Since the threats of a global pandemic, and now that it is a reality, Waliku has been in active communication with our school-community partners about COVID-19. Through our established WhatsApp groups with school administrators, teachers and the district education office, we have been conveying important messages and latest information about the disease from the WHO, the Indonesian Government and other trusted sources. School administrators and teachers, using their Waliku phones and free credits are communicating with school-families about important preventive hand- and respiratory- hygiene measures, social distancing and illness prevention and control.
Sumba Barat schools have been closed since 23rd March 2020. While this public health measure has been disruptive, the local government and its partners from NGOs and civil society are doing everything to mitigate its effects on children's learning and well-being.
After a year of Waliku’s proof-of-concept in Sumba, Indonesia, our team found the need to further customize Waliku. In developing version 2 of the Waliku system, we are turning to human-centered design to achieve our goals. We empathized with the users, mainly teachers, the school administration and the district education office, then we analysed their needs and found opportunities to integrate Waliku more with their daily needs.
Currently, we are in the midst of prototyping our Version 2 solution which will provide enhanced tools for schools to manage school absenteeism and their reasons. On the 9th of March, we organised a workshop to gather inputs and feedback from school teachers, principals and IT operators on Version 2 mock ups. Their enthusiasm showed, as they gave their opinions readily during the workshop through various design games and activities as well as through a digital survey.