Bina Cita Utama School (BCU)

bcu-1_buildingThe name Bina Cita Utama means to nurture ideals, dreams, hopes and ambitions, which are noble, or of the highest standing. Their vision is to provide a high quality learning environment which nurtures and educates children so that as adults, they will be able to make real and positive contributions to the development of their communities and the world. In doing so the school will be a model for future schools in the province.

They are now into their ninth year as a registered Indonesian national plus school. It was a clear intention of the BCU founders not to start an International school for expatriate children, but instead to start an Indonesian school, registered with the Indonesian government, catering mainly for Indonesian students. The intention was to make a real contribution toward the positive development of the province of Kalimantan Tengah by providing quality education to local children. Also understood was that, as an integrated part of the local education system we would be better able to work with other schools providing them with teacher training and international educational resources.

Several years ago they were able to participate in UNIDO’s Global Mercury Project. The high school students went into the field to see first hand the devastating environmental effects of illegal mining. They also were privileged to receive UNIDO guest speakers about the health impacts of mercury; not only on the miners themselves but also on others in the province. They learned, produced posters and visited high schools in an illegal mining area, presenting information to the children of illegal miners about the health effects of using mercury and how simple devices can be used to trap and recycle the mercury.

bcu-02Another wonderful opportunity presented itself with Yayasan Usaha Mulia, (YUM) a registered charity in Indonesia since 1975, that has undertaken a large scale project to address the high number of deaths in the province caused by malaria. Again the issue is about education. At a meeting in a local village there was only one person who knew that malaria was spread by mosquitoes. The children had an opportunity to learn within a context that is meaningful and relevant to their lives. Moreover the children are learning (or being quietly taught) the importance of working to contribute to the development of their community.

A “social project” is by definition is a project focusing on positive social development. YUM and the UN do it by saving lives through clean water, malaria, and mercury projects. BCU does it by educating and nurturing children, tomorrow’s adults, to have a social conscience, noble aspirations and ambitions and the ability to affect positive change in their society. This is what the name “Bina Cita Utama” means. Like planting a forest, it’s a long term project and the results are not so immediately visible. It’s true that the children at the school who are not on scholarship (85%) do come from wealthier families. It costs money to provide quality education. It’s also true that most of our students are the children of the province’s politicians and business leaders and, undoubtedly due to Indonesia’s hierarchical social structure, will hold those positions in the future.

bcu-04BCU was established by Yayasan Bina Cita Utama, a non-profit foundation, and is a social project founded with the clear intention of bringing about positive social development in the province through quality education. It’s a clear intention in the heart of every member of staff when they walk through the door of the school in the morning, and it was a clear intention of the school’s founders.

Kalimantan means “Rivers of Diamonds” and is a land rich in natural resources. Central Kalimantan is also one of the least developed provinces of Indonesia, and there is much poverty. It is inevitable that development and exploitation will occur. Because there is enormous opportunities for growth, one of the Foundation’s work objectives is to ensure that this growth is grounded in human values, hence, the importance of the school as an incubator for fostering these values in young adults. The belief is that education is the key to sustainable and positive development.