The purpose of the VDMS projects is to enhance the possibilities of secondary school students to acquire practical, cognitive and creative abilities. Apart of giving them a good start at the university, the long-term aims are to enhance their possibilities for becoming good citizens in the Indonesian society.
For the realization of this purpose, the VDMS will support secondary school students in the final year of their education. Students who do well at school and who are also active in social and/or societal respects are selected. Funds will be allocated to enable them to participate in:
the obliged school program of three months of external vocational practice; and an extra course in critical thinking and writing under the supervision of an experienced teacher. The course will be concluded with a writing competition.
Based on the input of the advisory group of experts of the VDMS, the VDMS concluded that the costs of external vocational practice appeared to be an obstacle for participation of the poor students. Secondly, academic and civic activities are more and more depending on being well able to think critically and expressing yourself well in writing. However, thinking and writing exercises appeared to be underrepresented in the general school curricula. With courses to develop these abilities, the VDMS wants to overcome the gap between capacities of the students and the societal requirements.
As this project design is new, the VDMS will start with a pilot concerning ten students, each in one of the following secondary schools: AKPER (the Nursing Academy, Ende); SMK Tarbiyah (the Vocational Secondary School for Fisheries, Ende); SMK Sadar Wisata (the Vocational Secondary School for Tourism, Ruteng). Criteria for the selection of the students will be announced in December 2016. The schools are situated in Flores as the VDMS directs its activities in particular to the relatively poor Eastern part of Indonesia.