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Why educational technology is crucial for honing Indonesia’s skilled workforce

Jack Brazel
Jack Brazel
Regional Director, South East Asia






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You’d be forgiven for thinking that digital transformation has occurred at warp speed over the past two years, considering the sheer pace of change. With companies and governments scrambling to cushion the disruption wrought by the pandemic, society is fast advancing towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

However, while Indonesians have adapted to the new ways of working, shopping and going about their daily lives, officials acknowledge that disparities in access to digital technology is causing headaches for Indonesian policymakers. And the inequities are even more stark when it comes to the nation’s education system.

If left unaddressed, this will have serious consequences on the quality of the education system and society at large. With ambitious aims to accelerate digital transformation in the workforce, it is unfeasible to expect Indonesian students to meet the needs of a robust digital economy if their education has not first equipped them with the required digital skills.

Now more than ever, it is imperative that developing nations like Indonesia rally around educational technology. Not only does a concerted effort to do so raise students’ aptitude and applicable skills across the board, it also leads to better societal and economic outcomes by stimulating employment opportunities, social mobility and workforce diversity.

Effectively digitising education so that learning environments are as connected as other aspects of daily life, requires policymakers and institutions to leverage solutions that promote accessibility, classroom collaboration and inclusivity.

Educational Technology: No Longer a Luxury, But Essential

As the distinctions between the physical and virtual worlds shift and change, these blurred lines require us to adapt in equal measure. Confidently stepping into the future amid these changing demands on the nature of work, mean students’ acquisition of key skills will make the difference between a thriving, vibrant society and one left behind.

Technology use has proven to build resilience in learning communities , and especially for developing countries such as Indonesia, it underscores the importance of leveraging tech-enabled methods to make current instruction, assessment and feedback models more fit for purpose.

And carving the way forward requires stakeholders across an institution to explore ways technology — specifically educational technology — can empower and prepare students for the future.

Benefits and Strategies to Move Forward

Institutions’ efforts to harness educational technology that aligns with Indonesia’s digital transformation agenda, offers an enormous number of benefits for both students and educators alike.

For one, educational technology can assist educators in providing more frequent, effective feedback that keeps track of student progress, and empowering them in the pivot towards formative assessment. Educational technology also presents educators with the opportunity to combine cutting edge tools with existing resources to promote authentic learning and academic integrity, streamline instructor workflows, increase fairness and teaching consistency, and importantly, reduce time spent on grading.

With groundbreaking new technology such as AI, educators can raise their productivity and reduce administrative burden to focus their energies on teaching time and upskilling, while students can gain additional insight and support to guide their learning journeys. Educational technology can also deter academic misconduct in students, by identifying signs of cheating and knowledge gaps for educators to address, and encouraging a culture of integrity that can last a lifetime. And when equipped with a solution that offers a comprehensive database of content, educators can ensure authenticity across all disciplines.

Solutions that harness AI and data, for example, have consistently been shown to enhance instruction, assessment and feedback. Further still, they foster their interaction with peers and teachers, empowering them to collaborate via high-quality, actionable learning workflows that lay a solid foundation for future professional development.

While many institutions in Indonesia are taking steps to embark on their digital transformation journey, Universitas Terbuka is an especially strong case for the virtues of embedding educational technology in modes of instruction. With its distance learning model, Universitas Terbuka has trailblazed the use of advanced technological solutions that ensures its lecturers continue to offer relevant instruction that promotes lifelong learning.

However, stakeholders in Indonesia’s education system are keenly aware that these solutions may not yet be accessible to a substantial number of learners. As things currently stand, scaling up online learning effectively to ensure competency and integrity among learners is a major challenge.

Exacerbating this is the fact that many students in Indonesia’s rural areas lack connectivity, and many lower-income students across the country have limited access to devices needed to use educational technology tools. Thus, while the pandemic has accelerated adoption of educational technology, Indonesia’s education system needs more strategic solutions that address these specific issues facing students and educators.

For example, the World Bank suggests that partnerships between the public education system and companies powering digitisation could provide avenues to raise educators’ digital literacy, revamp curricula and raise resilience of the national education system. These partnerships offer potential in making tech-enabled tools accessible and expediting their implementation.

Despite its complications, the pandemic has also created an opportunity for technology, and has pushed Indonesia’s businesses to advance their digital strategies in a considerably shorter time span than previously forecast.

While this certainly showcases a future marked by new, exciting and tech-driven job opportunities, there is a danger that large portions of young Indonesians will be left behind. Rectifying this divide cannot be delayed any longer, as it is fundamental to raising inclusivity and ensuring every Indonesian child and youth fulfils their right to quality education.

The task at hand is to future-proof the nation’s education landscape, build resilience and keep pace with technological advancement of wider society. Only then can local students truly thrive upon entering the working world and contribute to national development.