Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities: Bangkit Experience
3 out of 10 persons with disabilities in Indonesia never go to school.
And only 2 out of 10 persons with disabilities have completed higher education.
(Riskesdas Report, Min of Health 2018)
Equal education opportunities are still unfulfilled dreams for Indonesia’s 21 millions persons with disabilities (Supas, BPS 2019). The challenge for inclusive education is real.
It matters -why? Because when we accommodate the needs of students with impairments, they can better access the open job market. It is both life-improving and empowering.
Especially in the face of digital education these days, the principle of “leave no one behind” -taken from Indonesia’s pledge to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development- is key.
Listen to what a student of Bangkit 2021 says:
“Inclusive curriculum is very important. So many disabled people have difficulty getting a job.” (Fayyadh Aunilbarr)
Fayyadh is a mobile development learning path student from Yogyakarta. He has had hearing loss since birth, but it doesn’t stop him from doing his best at Bangkit. “I really aspire to be an Associate Android Developer,” he exclaims!
Love for IT
Fayyadh refers to his passion for IT as “lifelong” and “inevitable.” Looking back, he initially wanted to be a pilot, but as a hard-of-hearing person, it is impossible to pursue such a dream. As he loves aviation so much, he realizes that technology is always there. So, that’s where he started to find interest in IT.
Now he’s a student at Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta, majoring in Informatics. He took the Bangkit selection test upon receiving info from his lecturer. He advised Fayyadh and his other friends to apply to the Program.
When exchanging messages, he’s very talkative and fully conversant in English. His words are carefully written, expressing a range of tones and emotions. For this, he gave #1 credits to his parents for their unwavering support since Day 1.
Soonest doctor shed a light on Fayyadh’s hearing impairment situation, his father decided that the family move to Germany. All for Fayyadh’s better education opportunities. He wanted to send Fayyadh to study in a school specially designed for deaf children. In Germany their curriculum is exactly as same as the normal schools. So there is equal curriculum for both normal students and students with disabilities -a practice that’s still unknown in Indonesia’s to date.
The family lived in Hildesheim and Hannover city for 8 years straight. Throughout his formative years in Germany, no wonder that Fayyadh developed a profound interest in IT. He looks up to his father who has always worked as a software engineer.
Aspiration as Bangkit Student: Inclusive Education
For persons with disabilities, inclusive education is really the enabling factor to step up. It equalizes chances toward a good career opportunity in the tech industry -the aspect of Bangkit that Fayyadh appreciates the most.
“With Bangkit, in 5 years time I imagine myself as a Software Engineer. I love writing code that results in UI. It’s fun to see something I’ve created successfully! To better equip myself, I put Associate Android Developer certification as my ultimate target. I really don’t want to miss such a valuable opportunity offered by Bangkit.”(Fayyadh)
Fayyadh and other persons with disabilities’ motivation on IT career, signals a glimpse of hope. A hope for more representation and inclusivity of persons with disabilities in the IT sector we’ve all been rooting for.
Because in fact, their presence in the tech domain is almost undetected. Zero. About 83% of persons with disabilities at work in Indonesia are in agriculture, forestry, fishery, trade, and other low-skill sectors (Welfare Indicators, BPS 2019). Consequently, on average they earn less compared to the non-disabled people.
Challenge and Hope in the Learning Process
Bangkit is a career readiness program led by Google and supported by Gojek, Tokopedia, and Traveloka (founding partners from industry), as well as Deeptech (partner from non-profit organization). Falls under Kampus Merdeka initiative, Bangkit is fully supported by Dirjen Pendidikan Tinggi – Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Riset, dan Teknologi RI (DG of Higher Education – Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology). Joining Bangkit allows Fayyadh and 3,000 other determined students to get study credits (SKS) and, most importantly, acquire skills needed to be professional on leading tech companies.
The learning process is Bangkit filled with nothing but challenges. Fayyadh confessed that he’s still stuck at the Belajar Android Jetpack Pro submission at Dicoding -Bangkit’s curriculum provider. According to him, Android has so many difficult-to-remember theories or features, while he actually needs them to build an app. Therefore, he utilizes Dicoding’ Discussion Forum to find answers he’s looking for. Apart from that, he usually browses from Google Search or Stack Overflow forum. As for the Career Development learning path, Fayyadh reads the material given, right after the class.
When it comes to Instructor-Lead Training at Google Meet or Guess Speakers sessions at Youtube, he activates the Caption feature. “I feel the materials and caption feature are enough for me. I’m happy to see the subtitles.” he smiled. Although his most recurring experience is reading the captions in Google Meet. Too often the caption is lagged or gone due to poor connection.
Later upon graduation, all Bangkit students are given the opportunity to take the Google AAD Exam, including Fayyadh. As an interview is expected, Google has prepared to modify the mechanics to ensure greater accessibility for him and other deaf exam-takers. The process can now accommodate him to answer in text, instead of in spoken form.
At the end of our discussion that day, Fayyadh suggests that next year Bangkit could make use of interpreter’s role to help students like him. And that the government should revisit SLB curricula as well as provide equal rights and more accessibility for disabled children to study in “normal” schools. It will open door to wider life-transforming opportunity at job as well as higher education.
All the best Fayyadh. Your hope resonates with ours. Our tech education needs to be more inclusive for all persons with disabilities!
Inclusive Education for Person with Disabilities: Bangkit Experience
Read story from other Bangkit students here: