Two Jakarta teachers given lesson in NZ education

Al Azhar Islamic Junior School teacher Mukhamad Nurochman (left) and Al Azhar Islamic High School teacher Iden Sujana (right) talk to Otago Girls' High School pupils (from left) Kaia Katipa and Tineke Frisby (both 14) about the Indonesian education system
Al Azhar Islamic Junior School teacher Mukhamad Nurochman (left) and Al Azhar Islamic High School teacher Iden Sujana (right) talk to Otago Girls' High School pupils (from left) Kaia Katipa and Tineke Frisby (both 14) about the Indonesian education system. Photo: Linda Robertson
Two Indonesian teachers were shocked by the frosty welcome to Dunedin yesterday.

Coming from Jakarta, where temperatures are topping 30degC, to Dunedin where the day began below zero degrees, was a novelty for Al Azhar Islamic Junior School teacher Mukhamad Nurochman and Al Azhar Islamic High School teacher Iden Sujana.

The pair are in Dunedin as part of a reciprocal visit after Otago Girls' High School teachers Lisa Taylor and Nicola Chapman visited Jakarta earlier this year to get an ''up close and personal'' lesson about Islam and Indonesia's education system.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Nearly 90% of its 264million people are followers of Islam.

Mr Nurochman said the globe was much more accessible than it was 50 years ago and it was important for Indonesian teachers and pupils to experience the education, life and culture of other countries so they could understand the differences and similarities of life outside Jakarta.

''Understanding the culture and how they adjust their living outside their own culture is important.''

The pair said their ties with New Zealand had been ''tightened'' by their visit to Dunedin and they were delighted to have found new ''brothers and sisters''.

The exchange is part of the Global Schools Partnership Project which aims to build connections between pupils in Asia and New Zealand.

It is a collaboration between Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whitau Tuhono and the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (Sea Cape).

Sea Cape director Prof Siah Hwee Ang said the group would maintain an ongoing relationship by making the most of digital technologies to connect their classrooms.

''The ability to connect across cultures, to understand issues from a global perspective or different perspectives, is vital for young people in today's world.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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