AKRAB! (Literacy Creates Power)

Country Profile: Indonesia


249,866,000 (2013)

Official Language

Bahasa Indonesia

Other spoken languages

Javanese, Sundanese, Batak and Bugis

Poverty headcount ratio at 2 PPP$ a day (% of population)

43.3 (2013)

Access to Primary Education – Total Net Intake Rate (NIR)

96% (2006)

Total Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years, 2015)
  • Men: 98.9%
  • Women: 99.1%
  • Total: 99%
Adult Literacy Rate (15 years and over, 2015)
  • Male: 96.3%
  • Female: 91.5%
  • Total: 93.9%


Programme Overview

Programme TitleAKRAB! (Aksara Agar Berdaya – Literacy Creates Power)
Implementing OrganizationGovernment of Indonesia (Cross-ministry, integrated approach); coordinated by the Directorate of Community Education Development, Directorate General of Early Childhood, Non-Formal and Informal Education, Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia
Language of InstructionLocal languages and Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language)
Programme PartnersCommunity Learning Centres, NGOs, religious institutions and universities.
Date of Inception2008

Background and Context

Indonesia has a population of over 234 million people, distributed between roughly 6,000 inhabited islands. This vast population is divided into over 300 distinct ethnic groups, and approximately 680 native languages. The delivery of educational infrastructure for a population so ethnically, linguistically and geographically disjointed is a tremendous challenge. However, Indonesia’s public school system ranks as the third largest in the world, with over 50 million students studying in approximately 490 municipalities. It is due to such a comprehensive primary schooling system that the Net Enrolment Rate (NER) for primary school in Indonesia reached 95.41 per cent in 2011. Accordingly, youth literacy levels are estimated at approximately 98.51 per cent (2010), with very little gender disparity.

Compared to the literacy rates amongst the youth, Indonesia’s adult literacy rates are relatively low, at 94.98 per cent. 11.96 per cent of Indonesians live below food and non-food poverty lines with 248,707 IDR / 24.87 US$ per capita per month. The Indonesian Government has identified adult illiteracy as one of the major causes of this relatively high poverty prevalence.

Coordinated efforts to address illiteracy in Indonesia began as far back as 1945-1965. These efforts were built upon in 1970 with the introduction of the Package A programme, which was divided into 100 modules, of which A1-A10 were basic literacy, and A11-A100 were focused on literacy in the context of life skills. Over the period of the next three decades following the introduction of Package A, it is reported that the illiteracy rate was halved from approximately 21 per cent in 1970, to approximately 11 per cent in 2000, and that increased productivity of newly-literate people in various primary and secondary industries was observed.

The observation of cross-sector productivity improvements led to increased levels of interest in literacy attainment from many diverse parties, including the private sector and many government ministries. Indonesia’s most recent educational targets are therefore products of an integrated approach from many government ministries and various stakeholders from wider society outside parties. From the year 2000, emphasis has been placed on the acceleration of literacy efforts, in line with the UNESCO Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE). Education and literacy targets have been a primary focus of national strategic planning, and the current target is to reach 95.8 per cent adult literacy by 2014, which equates to an extra 8.5 million literate people compared to the 2008 adult literacy rate.

AKRAB! Programme

In 2006, the Indonesian Government announced the National Movement to Hasten Compulsory Nine-Year Basic Education Accomplishment and Fight Against Illiteracy (NMHFAI). Aksara Agar Berdaya (AKRAB!), which translates to “Literacy Creates Power”, is the adult education component of this movement. AKRAB comprises both basic and advanced literacy training in local languages and Bahasa Indonesia.

By institutionalising existing Community Learning Centres (CLCs) and other existing non-formal educational networks, the programme has quickly achieved extensive coverage with 7,073 locations that serve over 75,000 villages. AKRAB enables learners to develop their literacy alongside the themes of life skills, health and nutrition, agriculture, environment, entrepreneurship, national identity, religious tolerance, peace-building and prevention of destructive behaviour and human trafficking.

The AKRAB programme is made up of the following parallel-running components:

  1. Literacy acceleration
  2. Multiple and entrepreneurship literacy (“train to gain”)
  3. Reading culture improvement

Aims and Objectives

The Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia has identified the following objectives:

Programme Implementation: Approaches and Methodologies

Organisational Arrangements

One of the strengths of the AKRAB programme is that it is coordinated and implemented through a very holistic integrated approach, combining various stakeholders. This provides the programme with great strength due to the diversity of ideas and funding sources, and the wide range of efforts from various sectors. This integrated approach also entails many challenges, especially with regards to identifying and agreeing upon common objectives. The success of the AKRAB programme in developing an integrated cross-sector system of coordination should provide vital lessons for the development of other integrated cross-sector management structures, which are being increasingly identified as desirable yet unattainable approaches for dealing with many other issues, such as the management of environmental resources. In this sense, the AKRAB programme provides many valuable lessons to policy makers from various sectors.

The design and coordination of the AKRAB programme is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia. Other government ministries have the following roles:

Coordination of AKRAB’s implementation is further decentralised to provincial and municipal governance, through Memorandum’s of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education and Culture, and local Heads of District.

The implementation of the programme is carried out by a wide range of different organisations. These include:

These implementing organisations submit their budgets proposals to join the programme to the designated coordinator at the local level of governance. Depending on the specific agreement between the central and local authorities, the municipal coordinator can then either approve the proposal and budget directly, or recommend the proposal to the provincial authorities. The budget is awarded based on the proposed number of learners. In general, the budget for each implementing organisation is paid for by the central government at national level (50%), the provincial government (30%), and the municipal government (20%). The cost of the programme is approximately US$62 per learner.

Recruitment and Training of Facilitators

Each year, one person is selected from each municipality for training to become a tutor. Candidates must have at least Senior High School education, they must reside in the local area, demonstrate high levels of commitment and duty, be able to master the teaching-learning materials and be able to develop participatory learning methods. Tutors are then paid a basic wage of Rp10.500 (US$1.20) per hour.

Mobilisation of Participants

Recognising the nation’s gender inequality problem, and the effect which gender equality has on household wellbeing and the development of the wider economy, the AKRAB programme places a strong emphasis on female participation, in an attempt to strengthen institutional capacity for the mainstreaming of gender-related policies.

Participation in the programme is voluntary, but women are encouraged to participate by offering curriculums which are well tailored to the everyday needs of women and the household unit.

Training-Learning Methods and Approaches

In general teaching is conducted in groups of ten learners per tutor, and programmes last for between six and ten months. Although there is a specific programme structure, the tutors are trained in a way in which this programme can be made flexible, and the learning needs of each individual student are identified by the tutor through observation and interview.

Three key teaching approaches are used:

  1. Participatory approach – integrating relevant life skills into the programme
  2. Mother tongue based approach – the programme begins in mother tongue and develops into a mixture of mother tongue and Bahasa Indonesia as the learners’ skills develop
  3. Transliteration approach – ability to read Qur’an and Arabic alphabets is transferred into the ability to read Latin letters.

The bulk of the learning material is developed by a team made up of the tutor and non-formal education experts, in line with the material made available through the national programme. In addition, an innovative element of this programme is that learners themselves develop their own booklets and newspapers during writing classes which are then used as learning materials by other participants.

The programme is generally implemented in five competency stages, as follows:

  Literacy Entrepreneurship
Stage 1 Understand short text on a known topic.
Gain information from general signs and symbols,
Stage 2 Understand simple short text on a known topic correctly and independently.
Gain information from previously-known short documents.
Gain information from various everyday sources.
Identify types of enterprise that may be developed in the local context.
Write and communicate the design of an individual or group enterprise.
Stage 3 Understand short and longer texts on various topics. Master the production of the product or service of the chosen enterprise.
Market the product or service developed.
Stage 4 Understand complicated texts on various topics correctly and independently.
Gain detailed information from various sources.
Conduct profit/loss analysis.
Establish partnerships for the growth and sustainability of the enterprise.
Stage 5 Use community ICT and reading gardens to maintain and improve literacy. Continuously maintain and develop the competencies of reading, writing and communicating in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language) in the running of the enterprise.

On completion of stage 4 to a satisfactory level, learners receive a certificate of literacy (Surat Keterangan Melek Aksara - SUKMA).

The fifth stage of the programme is a phase of continuous learning and consolidation of skills. This is not a stage that is designed to be completed, but rather one that is always available to citizens for their personal development.


Programme Impact and Challenges

Monitoring and Evaluation

All institutions and organisations involved in the delivery of AKRAB are assessed by the independent National Accreditation Board for Non-Formal and Informal Education, for their eligibility to participate in the AKRAB programme and issue certificates of literacy. This assessment is based on the quality and standards of the curriculum, teaching-learning process, graduate competence, personnel, facilities, governance and finance. This accreditation process is a fundamental part of the organisations proposal and application for funding from the municipal authorities.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education and Culture collaborates closely with the National Statistics Bureau to provide a means of monitoring and evaluating the wider impacts of the programme.


Between 2008 and 2012, the programme has achieved the following:



Lessons Learnt



Ella Yulaelawati
Director of Community Education Development
Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Office,
E Building, 6th Floor, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman – Senayan, Jakarta 10270
Telephone/Fax: +6221 5725575/ +6221 5725039
Email: ella.yulaelawati (at) kemdikbud.go.id

Last update: 1 October 2012