Jakarta (07/11). SEAMEO RECFON conducted the Socialization of Nutrition Goes to School (NGTS) Program to strengthen the implementation of the Healthy Madrasah Program (Program Madrasah Sehat) in Yogyakarta on November 7, 2023. This online event was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia and invited all Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI) in Yogyakarta. This year, SEAMEO RECFON had a plan to scale-up the NGTS program model that has been developed since 2016 in the madrasah and pesantren settings in Indonesia, which are under the coordination of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) Republic of Indonesia. This socialization aimed to disseminate the information about the NGTS Program to the targeted madrasah, as well as knowing the readiness of madrasah to participate in the NGTS Program through a school readiness survey.

More than 80 participants representing madrasah in Yogyakarta and academic partner from Ahmad Dahlan University (UAD) attended this socialization via Zoom meeting platform. At the beginning, the event was opened with remarks from representatives of the Provincial Religious Affairs Office of Yogyakarta, represented by the Head of Madrasah Education, H. Abdul Su’ud, S.Ag, M.SI, Acting Director of SEAMEO RECFON, Dr. Zainun Misbah, M.Sc, as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs, represented by the Head of Sub-Directorate of Institutional and Cooperation, Directorate of Curriculum, Facilities, Institutional, and Student Affairs (KSKK), Papay Supriatna, S.S, M.Pd.

In his speech, H. Abdul Su’ud highly appreciated the selection of Yogyakarta as the location of the NGTS Program implementation initiative in the madrasah setting. In addition, he also encouraged madrasah to participate in the NGTS Program and promote branding of Madrasah Jogja Istimewa.

“As a representative of the Head of Madrasah Education, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Directorate of KSKK for providing an opportunity for the Special Region of Yogyakarta to become a pilot project of SEAMEO RECFON related to the Nutrition for Achievement project. I hope this activity will have a significant impact on supporting learning activities in order to achieve the tagline of the Madrasah Education Sector, namely Madrasah Jogja Istimewa,” said H. Abdul Su’ud.

In line with the support from the Provincial Religious Affairs Office of Yogyakarta, Dr. Zainun Misbah also said that the expansion of the NGTS Program in madrasah setting in Yogyakarta will collaborate with the Faculty of Public Health of Ahmad Dahlan University (FKM UAD) as an academic partner.

“In implementing the NGTS Program in Yogyakarta Province, SEAMEO RECFON received support from the Nutrition Study Program, Faculty of Public Health, Ahmad Dahlan University (UAD), Yogyakarta. We really appreciate your contribution and collaboration as an academic partner. UAD will provide intensive assistance of NGTS Program for madrasah to implement health and nutrition programs,” said Dr. Zainun.

Papay Supriatna, S.S, M.Pd, a representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, supported the NGTS Program as a strengthening of the Healthy Madrasah Program. He also hopes that the initiatives carried out in Yogyakarta could be a model and disseminated to other madrasahs in Indonesia.

“We really hope that there will be training and mentoring from academics so that our madrasah can become a excellent generation,” Mr. Papay said.

After the welcoming session from the three institutions, the next session was the presentations delivered by representatives of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, SEAMEO RECFON, and MA M. Basiuni Imran as selected Madrasah.

Mr. Papay Supriatna mentioned that the Directorate of KSKK Madrasah and SEAMEO RECFON are working together to improve the nutrition knowledge and practices of students in Madrasah through the NGTS Program. He also said that NGTS activities are conducted in Madrasah through debriefing and insertion.

“There are two NGTS activities, namely debriefing and insertion. Debriefing provides the knowledge and skills to conduct nutrition promotion in schools and create an environment that supports the realization of good nutrition practices for school residents. Of course, there are many things we can do, starting from improvement of the canteen, then providing information to change perspectives on nutrition and so on. Then we insert NGTS into existing subjects in madrasah,” Mr. Papay explained.

In line with those explanation, the implementation of the NGTS Program could be integrated with the existing program at school from the government, namely the School/Madrasah Health Program (UKS/M).

“Actually, NGTS is not something that stands alone, but we strengthen existing government programs. Of course, because it is related to nutrition and health, we have to be under coordination of UKS/M,” said Dr. Ade Wiradnyani.

In the sharing session, Mrs. Nur Halimah, a teacher at MA M. Basiuni Imran, Sambas District, presented her experience in implementing the NGTS Program in the madrasah setting which consists of nutrition education, physical activity, and entrepreneurship. Mrs. Nur Halimah also shared the benefits after implementing the NGTS Program in her madrasah.

“In implementing NGTS Program, we feel that it can encourage creativity and innovation for madrasah residents, both from teachers and students. In terms of outcomes, education through the NGTS Madrasah program contributes to preparing a superior next generation that is physically healthy, intellectually intelligent, and mature in religion, “said Mrs. Nur Halimah.

At the end of the session, SEAMEO RECFON invited the madrasah that are interested in participating in the NGTS Program, by filling out the participation form, which will then be selected by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Provincial Religious Affairs Office of Yogyakarta.