Image Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Image Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education urges Indonesian universities to offer distance learning and online courses

Indonesian universities are being encouraged by Research, Technology, and Higher Education Minister Muhamad Nasir to start implementing distance learning and online courses as this is a crucial step to stay competitive in the era of industrial revolution.

Not only that, but this will also provide more opportunities for people to gain access to higher education.

According to the report released by the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), standards for online courses have been created by the government. However, there are still rules that needed revising.

Minister Muhamad Nasir explained that several universities, including UGM, have started implementing the blended learning method at its early stages.

He added that the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education regulates the rules of online-based courses of cyber universities.

He is targeting that around 30 universities should be able to provide these courses this year. They can begin with the blended learning method like the case of UGM wherein their online courses combine face-to-face classroom discussions and online learning capability.

The Indonesian universities should recognise the importance of this innovation especially since there are plans for foreign universities to start operating in the country soon.

The advancement of Indonesian universities becomes important amidst the plan of foreign universities to operate in the country soon.

He urged local institutions not to oppose the move and instead look at the competition as a motivation for them to continue improving the quality of education that they are providing as well as being open to changes and adapting new innovations.

The presence of foreign universities, he furthered, does not necessarily decrease the quality of Indonesian universities. In Malaysia, for instance, the country’s local and private universities are actually developing despite having foreign universities.

Aside from optimising the availability of information technology, the higher education is being incited by Minister Nasir to advance the competencies of students in foreign languages, especially in English.

In this era wherein people are increasingly connected, language literacy is considered an essential asset to be able to step into the world and connect with it.

He discussed the significance of English as it is the language used by the world to communicate. A TOEFL score of 450 is no longer enough.  Because of this, the universities should prepare infrastructure and the supporting facilities in order to foster students with this competence.

Faculty of Economics and Business Dean Dr Eko Suwardi shared the similar thought. He explained how the school encourages students to improve their language proficiency, especially for students who are in the international program so that they will be prepared to face global competition.

One of the strategies they have thought to improve the English literacy of students is by promoting exchange programs and summer courses abroad. The University also invites international students to participate in learning activities on campus.

Adequate international exposure would increase the competitiveness of the students and will equip them with learnings that can prepare them for the future.

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