In the shadow of the tsunami: A case study of a tsunami affected school in Banda Aceh

Author: . Fadliadi

Fadliadi, ., 2015 In the shadow of the tsunami: A case study of a tsunami affected school in Banda Aceh, Flinders University, School of Education

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The 2004 tsunami in Aceh devastated the province in all sectors. In the education sector, the tragedy destroyed about 2,000 schools and killed approximately 2,500 teachers and 40,000 students (Ananta & Onn, 2007a). While much has been written about the tsunami in Aceh, little has been documented about the impact of the tragedy on schools and the teachers and students.

Using case study as the method of inquiry, this cross-sectional qualitative study, from an educational perspective, focused on one tsunami-affected school in Banda Aceh to understand the impact of the tragedy six years after the event. Of particular interest was to understand how the tragedy affected the lives of teachers and students attending the school. Data were collected between April and October 2010 using semi-structured interviews with 11 teachers, 10 students, and eight community members who were purposively selected. Observations and students’ photos and drawings were also gathered. The collected data were analysed qualitatively using NVivo software.

From the findings of the study, it was evident that some teachers and young people at the study school were still living in the shadow of their tsunami experience. Multiple sources of evidence showed that some teachers and students in the school were facing personal and school-related challenges that affected the educational processes that underpin quality teaching and learning in the school. This included long-term economic difficulties, living with the memory of the event, loss of loved ones, and a difficult life as a result of their experience of the tsunami. At the school, many teachers viewed their roles as more challenging after the tsunami. Sources of teachers’ challenges included a lack of teaching and learning resources, their own personal issues as well as the issues and family circumstances of their students, a lack of collegiality, ineffective leadership, and unequal opportunity for professional development. With regard to students, in addition to personal factors, students at the study school also faced learning challenges due to a lack of teaching and learning resources, poor teacher pedagogy, and difficult teacher-student relationships. Without the recognition by government and education sector leaders of these challenges and without provision of necessary support, both the teachers and students were pessimistic that they could perform their roles optimally.

Findings from this study can serve as guidelines that may assist policy and practice particularly in Aceh regarding better educational support and services during the rebuilding of the province. In addition, it is expected that the findings may be applicable to other contexts, especially contexts similar to the subject of this study.

Keywords: tsunami, Banda Aceh, tsunami affected school, teaching and learning,

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2015
School: School of Education
Supervisor: Professor Rosalind Murray-Harvey