I spent 3 days in Jakarta at the British International School (BIS) and was quite impressed with the school’s staff and leadership. They are making NHD a part of the entire school, not just a history/social studies effort. The students are eager to learn and asked great questions at the all-school assembly when I presented–especially the primary grade students. Don’t they always show-up the older kids?! 🙂
BIS is reaching out to international schools all over Southeast Asia and is already getting inquiries. We won’t know until other schools commit, but the interest seems to indicate that “if you build it, they will come.” And Mark Johnson at Concordia International School in Shanghai has been spreading the word and recruiting schools in East Asia and has commitments from several schools in Korea.
A little bit about Jakarta: it’s hot! Indonesia lies on the equator, so every day is hot and very humid (a little like walking out into warm, wet cotton). I didn’t have time to see the sights, but it is clear that the island is lush and beautiful, although poverty is very apparent. Sadly, I did learn that Indonesians are not dedicated to historic preservation. Part of that is due to a desire to through off the yoke of the past with its memory of Dutch colonialism. Thus, the area of Batavia where the Dutch square and colonial buildings are has not been kept up. But part of this also is due to the desire to modernize, modernize, build and modernize. The food is similar to other Asian cuisines with a lot of rice and vegetables, but also a lot of meat.