Early childhood education plays an important role in preparing children for their primary school, high school and even workplace. Unfortunately many parents believe education for their children should start between four and six years old. Meanwhile research indicates that one to three years old is a critical time for children to begin education. However this caveat is not being followed here in Indonesia, particularly for those in the lower classes at urban slum area.
Taking this into account, five students of the MM Young Professional Creative Marketing at BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL (BBS) have been trying to contribute to the Indonesian educational world. They are Inez Rarasati, Andrew Collien, Handrich Kongdro, Aryo Bismo, and Mario Tanuwijoko. They presented a solution in the form of picture cards called the ‘Star(T) Educational Kit’. They brought their innovation to Shanghai, China for the annual Hult Prize competition – an international award for finding the best solutions to various social problems in the world which selected by President Bill Clinton.
Star(T) Educational Kit is a learning tool consisting of picture cards for children aged one to three years old. The cards are folded into the same size as a mobile phone credit’s top up card with interesting pictures for children (based on age appropriate content) including instruction to guide mothers interacting with their children.
“So, when buying mobile phone credit, mothers automatically could get an educational kit for their children. As we know, people in Indonesia, including those who live in the slum areas, already consider mobile phone credit as a part of their basic necessities. Often the education is forgettable, but not the mobile phone credit. That’s why we decided to combine these two,” Andrew Collien said.
Inez added that the solution they offered could answer two problems at one time. People could buy mobile phone credit for their daily necessities without neglecting their children’s education. They did’t even have to pay for extra money.
“For our future plan, we will cooperate with a telecommunication provider to develop this Star(T) so that many people in Indonesia, including those who live in the low-level of economy at urban slum could enjoy it,” said Inez.
The Star(T) concept received positive responses from many parties attending the competition. “The feedback we got was pretty encouraging. Another team that became our peer panel during our presentation said that our idea was ‘crazy and out of the box.’ They also said they would have doubted a win if they had to compete in the same group with us,” said Handrich.
The Executive Director of Hult International Business School in Shanghai, also praised the concept. Christophe Didion approached the Star(T) team’s room after the presentation because of the committee’s comments about the BBS team.
“I like your idea, it’s very simple and easy to understand, even when I heard it from a third party, I can understand it clearly,” he said.
In the future, Handrich and his partners considered to implement this concept into the real world so people in Indonesia could enjoy it. “Looking at the positive feedback from so many parties, we plan to find other opportunities as soon as we go back to Indonesia. We’ll decide after having an internal meeting,” Handrich said.
The students thanked BBS and also BINUS UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL for their support, especially Ms. Ina Murwani and Mr. Frans Bona who spent a lot of their time supervising the team. (RAW)
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