Digitizing of schools prioritized for disadvantaged, outermost, and frontmost regions

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Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim. (Photo: KEMENDIKBUD)

IO – “Disadvantaged, outermost, and frontmost (tertinggal, terluar, dan terdepan – “3T”) regions are being prioritized for school dig itizing,” announced Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim during his work visit to Sorong Township, West Papua, on 11 February 2021. This digitizing scheme is part of the 2021 priority work programs encouraged by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Other than school digitizing, 2021 priority programs include pro grams for revitalizing vocational education, strengthening the ca pacity of teachers and educational staff, funding for education, and development of culture.

The Minister started his work in Sorong by focusing on providing information and communication technology (teknologi informasi dan komunikasi – “TIK”) aid and delin eating the school digitizing pro gram. The Ministry of Education and Culture’s TIK aid has been provided to 29 schools in West Papua Province so far, including National Middle School Number 14 in the Regency of Sorong. The Ministry has provided TIK aid to 250 schools throughout Indonesia.

After noting the high number of requests submitted after he initially provided TIK aid, the Minis ter concluded that it is a crucial matter to consider. However, the amount of TIK aid available can not cover the total number of stu dents throughout the country in the many schools that need such equipment. “Schools and stu dents in 3T areas are in dire need of equalizing. They need internet access as much as their counter parts in the main cities do. The Government is still working on providing this access,” Minister Nadiem said.

Other than focusing on provid ing TIK and school digitizing aid, Minister Nadiem is encouraging schools in West Papua to join the Mover Schools scheme. Only 2,500 slots are available for the first batch of Mover Schools. His target for the next 10 years is to transform all schools in Indonesia into Mov er Schools. Therefore, he allows schools that are ready for it to reg ister at the Ministry of Education and Culture’s website before regis trations close on 6 March 2021.

The Ministry of Education and Culture cooperates with sever al other Ministries in the school digitizing program: “We have the Ministry of Communications and Informatics and the Ministry of Public Works and Public Hous ing. Therefore, we coordinate with them every day,” Minister Nadiem said.

The target is to completely dig itize Indonesian territory within the next three to five years. “We are closing our numerous blank spots in various regions,” Min ister Nadiem said. “We are also going to focus more on providing the infrastructure and support ing equipment for digital learning, such as by concentrating on the procurement of things from lap tops to projectors. That’s our duty. We are being proactive because the connection is there. What we do is help schools make use of it prop erly.”

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education and Culture is also establishing a Technology Team that will support teachers and help them to work more effectively. “The primary duty of the Technol ogy Team is to help headmasters and teachers. We need to concen trate on creating toolkits for these headmasters and teachers that will allow them to take care of their schools more efficiently, and to assess the development level of their individual students more accurately,” he said. (eka)