Nadiem Makarim: If you want to improve children’s literacy, choose the most exciting books

TIME.CO, Jakarta – The Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Nadiem Anwar Makarim, said that efforts to create early literacy are very important. If successful in creating literacy at an early age, he said Nadiem Makarim, then throughout his life the child will develop a soul and love for books. This will create a higher literacy power.

“But is the book available or not? And what is its quality?” Nadiem said at the opening of the 12th Indonesian Language Congress in Jakarta on Wednesday evening, October 25, 2023.

Nadiem shared his experience whenever he visited the area, he always asked to see the state of the libraries in the schools. He said that, on average, the books in each elementary school (SD) library are all the same. The books seemed to be piled up in the library, covered in a thick layer of dust and sometimes some tied with raffia.

He once opened a stack of books in an elementary school library tied with raffia. Nadiem found a book on how to grow crops. Then there are other books that parents may want their children to read.

“In my opinion, this is one of the fatal mistakes of the education system. Not only in Indonesia, but also in other countries. If you want to increase children’s literacy, choose books that children want to read. Let the children do this it’s the choice,” he said.

According to Nadiem, the basic principle is to provide the most exciting books that children will enjoy. It could be a book in Indonesia, it could also be a book outside Indonesia that could be translated and then printed in millions of copies. The books are then distributed to schools with the lowest literacy levels.

This effort is actually already underway. In total, 15.4 million copies of books were distributed to more than 20 thousand schools. Both at the nursery school and elementary school level in the 3T area. “This is an effort to improve our literacy conditions through the 23rd episode of Merdeka Belajar,” said the head of the Language Agency, E. Aminuddin Aziz.


This step, Nadiem said, has been quite successful. When the books arrived in disadvantaged, border, outermost or 3T areas, teachers were also trained to retell the content of the books. Subsequently, schools were also invited to hold daily reading sessions. In addition to this, the arrangement of books in the library is also made more attractive, the books are lined up like in a bookcase. “And finally, the kids broke into the books.”

He added that at least the library should be a place to distribute books. “We train all libraries to take books home. Books need to be taken home and returned,” she said.

Nadiem also recommended placing books in the environment school carried out in a widespread manner and not just centralized in the library. Schools can create a series of reading corners containing a variety of interesting children’s books.

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