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JIS stays resilient, resourceful in the changing landscape of education

As schools across Jakarta continue to prepare for the day they can safely welcome students back to campus for face-to-face instruction, they do so with the knowledge that they must also adjust their learning methodologies to better respond to disruptions or sudden changes. For Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS), that meant tapping into its core values of inspiring joyful and rigorous learning by reflecting, relating and being resourceful.

Like most educational institutions around the world, JIS pivoted to online learning in March last year to protect the safety of its entire community. The sudden shift challenged JIS teachers and administrators to innovate and push their creative limits to ensure students will still benefit from the high-quality education the school is known for. And so, the JIS Home and Online Learning program was created based on the same core values the school emphasizes throughout its curriculum, with the goal of delivering relevant, inclusive and coherent learning. 

“Despite the pandemic and the resulting disruption to our routine, JIS remains committed to providing an outstanding educational program that reflects the JIS motto of being Best for the World,” JIS Head of School Dr. Tarek Razik told The Jakarta Post.

“We’ve had to really think out of the box and move beyond the traditional notion that online lessons can’t be as effective as in-person learning. I think our Home and Online Learning Program proves that it can work, as we’ve been able to provide students with academically rigorous learning opportunities that keep them engaged.”

He explained that even from the safety of their own homes, students continued to learn through both independent inquiry and collaborative projects. And throughout it all, he added, they have remained passionate, creative and inquisitive — traits that are at the core of JIS’s learning values.

The Home and Online Learning Program has also prioritized students’ social-emotional wellness, ensuring they stay connected with each other and their teachers as much as possible. JIS has done this by offering a diverse range of cocurricular activities and maintaining as many school traditions as possible, such as Uniting Nations Day, Indonesia Week, Spirit Week and various performance art showcases. All of these activities were held on the digital sphere, either through Zoom or live-streamed to adhere to both the school’s health and safety protocol, as well as prevailing state and local government regulations.

In April, with restrictions loosening and the city administration setting a list of requirements for schools to implement in the “new normal”, JIS was chosen by the Jakarta Education Agency to participate in a pilot school reopening campaign and model the safe return to campus.

Having learned from the sudden shift to online learning the year before, JIS had already been preparing for a gradual return to school and implemented a stringent health protocol that included hand-washing and hand sanitizing stations placed across all three of its campuses, thermal cameras at entrances, as well as signage and arrows to ensure physical distancing, among other measures.

Teachers and administrators had also designed a comprehensive blended learning approach that was ready to be implemented by the first day of the pilot reopening program.

“Our hope and aim, of course, is for our entire community to be back together, learning, collaborating and engaging with each other on campus,” Razik said. “We now have a rigorous yet flexible blended learning method that will ensure uninterrupted quality learning experiences, flexibility and seamless integration in the event we need to respond to different circumstances in the next academic year.”