Papua (MNN) — Indonesia is in desperate need of quality education, and a missionary aviation ministry recognizes the need to do something about it.
Speaking from Papua, Mission Aviation Fellowship's Wally Wiley tells us Indonesian children lack problem-solving skills. "PISA just did a problem-solving study in 2003 [involving] 42 countries, and Indonesia ended up on the bottom of that list of 42. So it's basically a proven fact that this is an area where they're really struggling."
Wiley says while Indonesia's problems are bad, the problems in Papua are worse. He says it's affecting their intention of training nationals to do the work. "We tried, over the years, to train a Papuan as a pilot mechanic and have not been successful. It's not because they're not bright, but it's because the educational system is faulty, especially in the area of problem solving abilities."
MAF is hoping to open a boarding school called the Papua Harapan Schools to address these needs. Wiley says plans are moving forward. "I have a team from our home church that's coming out do the survey of the land, and if they give us a thumbs up, we'll proceed with the purchase of the land. And then hopefully we'll start the building and the recruitment of teachers and students in the next year."
This has been a six-year dream of his. Purchasing land is the first big step. "Now that that's happening, there are a lot of things to address — recruiting teachers and students, building a facility, and [getting] dorm parents."
With character development an essential part of their education, recruiting the right dorm parents is key.
Wiley believes this school will make an incredible impact in the country. "It's not just pilot/mechanics that we're trying to train; it's grown into much more than that. We want to enable them to take their place in many leadership positions–I would say both leaders of the government and leaders of the church, and other areas, too."
18 teachers are in training and should be ready to join the school when it opens. "Pray for those teachers, too, as they're being trained, that God will allow them to be successful in that training, and as they come back that they'll have the burden to disciple the kids."