Indonesia is the home to world’s fourth largest population of young people, according to the World Bank. I think at least 40% of Indonesia population is under 30 years old (by Indonesian law, ‘young’ means under 30 years old, by the way, that could be different in other countries, for example in Brunei, young people means under 40 years old). So, in short, there are almost 100 million active, energetic, young people in Indonesia. They are Indonesia’s biggest assets. Along with Indonesia economic growth of more than 6% and its recent 1 trillion dollar GDP, we must have a very bright future, right?
Maybe yes, maybe no. If that much young people, don’t have a basic formal education, or they have formal education but is not prepared for the ‘real world’ thus causing unemployment rising, then we’re in trouble.
I recently visit Brunei for speaking at Think Big Innovate 2012, and I also managed to speak in 2 Brunei big Universities, Institute Technology Brunei (ITB) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
Brunei students are getting free education even ’til university level. And one of the students even look shocked when I said in Indonesia people pay for their college education :)) To be fair, I’m not going to compare us to 400,000++ population rich oil country Brunei for sure, but from my trip and pondering a little bit about our education system, I got some insights.
Basic education is a must. Make sure it’s affordable and accessible all over Indonesia. I spoke to some street children or children in slum area in Jakarta of why they don’t go to school because it supposed to be free, they said they can’t afford the entrance fee, the uniform and the books. Which is make sense considering how much their parents make daily. I’m thinking rich family can subsidized those need for the poor, and hopefully school can help to organize the fund for the right use.
Quality of teachers. More than 50 million Indonesian are on Facebook. So, I believe at least half of it are young people and they are aware of technology and got a decent access to information. Teachers nowadays are not expected to just passing the information to students, but also inspired them to learn, to be creative, to collaborate. The problem now is, being a teacher is not the ‘most wanted job’ in the country because of the uninteresting salary. And the one who already teachers might not ‘motivated’ to change the ‘traditional way’ of teaching. By rising the life quality of teachers, setting up new mindsets, giving a self-development training, will help enhancing the quality of education in our country.
Entrepreneurship and writing culture in schools. I strongly believe that we need to be more entrepreneurial. With the mindset of creating jobs and more opportunities. Right now we need to have at least another 1% of population to be entrepreneurs for our country to prosper. The entrepreneurial culture must be started from school. Doing projects, collaborate with business communities, to make a good impact to society. Writing skill for me is a must. Almost everything is written nowadays (from business plans, emails to Facebook status). Writing trained students logic to think, observe, analyze, pick best angle and point of view, also articulate their opinion better. Students must be encouraged to write more, even from simple daily routine as journaling.
I’m not going to talk about infrastructure right now *clears throat*
Now, question is, how we can contribute to make our education system better?
Today, 28 October 2012, the same day of Sumpah Pemuda day and also in National Education month, Putera Sampoerna Foundation (PSF) is officially launched Indonesia Berkibar movement to help provide support to reduce the number of school drops out in Indonesia and helping youths advance to higher education.
Check their mind opening video about education in Indonesia here. There are some shocking facts about education in Indonesia that we might never heard of. Also check out some stories from teachers after they get useful training of how to manage their classes.
What we can do right now is to help raise the awareness with spreading the content of Indonesia Berkibar on Twitter @IDBerkibar and on Facebook Indonesia Berkibar. If you want to share your experience with your teacher, you can participate in Indonesia Berkibar blog competition here.
Indonesia Berkibar has 4 programs that totally in-synch with what I have in mind on how to help improving education in Indonesia and with the support from government and organizations, I have nothing but optimistic spirit for Indonesia’s future.