The Tanoto Foundation’s School Improvement Program

In 2010, the Tanoto Foundation initiated its School Improvement Program, designed to improve the existing physical and educational infrastructure in Indonesian schools and to provide more in-depth resources to teachers.

Working in the provinces of Riau, North Sumatra, and Jambi, the program has brought positive changes to some 200 schools, and it has replicated these efforts in underserved areas in China.


The Tanoto Foundation, a philanthropic organization established by Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, works to transform the communities in which Mr. Tanoto’s RGE Group operates. With natural resources-based manufacturing facilities in Mr. Tanoto’s native Indonesia and in China, the $15 billion RGE Group has come to play a major role in the Southeast Asian and global economies. The foundation, following Mr. Tanoto’s own emphasis on education and empowerment of people in underserved communities, puts most of its funding into programs that build educational capacity in order to serve the needs of future generations of leaders.

The School Improvement Program provides textbooks, upgrades to physical facilities, and money to expand or construct laboratories and libraries. It empowers teachers by helping them adapt programs to suit local classroom and community needs. Teacher training programs concentrate on improving educators’ skills and their capacity to foster a love of reading in children. The related Healthy School Program assists local principals in improving the sanitation and clean water available at their schools.

Indonesia is among the world’s largest and most diverse nations, and its rural teachers face significant challenges. In addition to coping with under-resourced facilities, they are often required to teach classes of children spanning a wide age range. In 2005, the country stipulated that all teachers must obtain a post-secondary education and professional certification within the decade. Yet a year later, official estimates put the country’s percentage of teachers with appropriate credentials at less than one-fifth. While much work remains to be accomplished, the capacity-building programs for schools and teachers offered through the Tanoto Foundation have helped to make a positive start.


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