My new minister of education

OPINION
By Dr. Djuwari Sarkawi
October 29, 2019

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THIS article is just for sharing. It is sharing with the Philippines and other developing countries. First, I talk about my minister of education. Then, I relate it with my experience in Bataan, Manila, in 2015 and that in Singapore in 2016. Education is either for preparing jobs or creating scientists.
Let me talk about my new minister of education. He is globally recognized. He is the boss of G-Jek— the online folk-transportation. Folk-transportation has a sense that it is the motorbike transport. It is managed virtually. And, I believe the readers in the Philippines know it too.
Nadiem Makarim, the new minister of education and culture, is young enough. He is 35 years old. After finishing his Master degree in Harvard University, he went back to his home country: Indonesia. With his Go-Jek business, he is now the CEO with trillions of IDR asset.
More amazingly, he is appointed the minister of education and culture. This ministry is the biggest management and leadership. With his master degree and experience in global business, he is expected to change this education affair. When we talk about education in Indonesia, we include now the basic level, secondary level, and even tertiary level.  In other words, it concerns all schools and universities in Indonesia.
Why does President Jokowi appoint him? Here is just my educated guest. President might want him to change the horizon of education. It is not only educating the nations. It is not only making the people smart. More than that, President might want him to change the system. The system should make also the people creative, imaginative, and innovative.
I remember when I was a keynote speaker in MAAP (Maritime Academy of Asia Pacific) in Bataan, near Manila, the Philippines in 2016. It was the international concference held by the AUSN (American University of Sovereign Nations). One of the Doctor—I remember her name Dr. April—from the Philippines also delivered her speech. She said that almost 60 percent of the university graduates were not employed. They were not absorbed by the industries. That condition is almost the same as in Indonesia though I have not yet done any research on it.
Due to the phenomenon above, there is a dilemma for universities. This can be referred to the Asia Summit, I attended also as a keynote speaker in Singapore in 2015. Most of the speakers around the world at that time discussed the topic about university and collaboration with industries. Yet, we got bogged down: realizing that we were in a dilemma.
The dilemma is whether we manage universities either for preparing the jobs or for developing the academicians for innovation. Innovation to develop science and knowledge! Innovation to develop theories and philosophies! The schools of knowledge and science as well as technology! In other words, it is to develop and create scientists.
The second is whether universities are only to create jobs. If this alternation is taken, then we will get trapped into pragmatism. If so, there won’t be new scientists. We stop thinking. We stop innovating. We stop developing theories of the science and knowledge we have now. We cannot create new Albert Einstein anymore. So, that was the dilemma we discussed in 2016 in Singapore.
Now, President Jokowi (Joko Widodo) appointed Nadiem Makarim—the best CEO, young and millennialism—the Minister of Education and Culture. I believe that my President wants Mr. Makarim to improve the system of education. The system is how to make the school or university graduates get employed. It is economically oriented. The nations have a huge burden when all the graduates are not yet absorbed by the industries.
Now that we have eye witnessed the education system everywhere. It is both In the Philippines and especially in other developing countries. We are not yet successful in creating the jobs for the school and university graduates. It seems that this is the main reason why President Jokowi appointed Nadiem Makarim—the young CEO with his Mater degree—the minister of education and culture.
He will lead all teachers throughout Indonesia. He will also lead all doctors, professors, and scientists throughout Indonesia. In other words he will deal with both vocational and academic orientation of education. One, he should create the jobs for the graduates and the other, he should also create scientists.
Dr. Djuwari is an Associate Professor and the Director of Language Laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the President of International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER).


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