Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, at a seminar held by the Kendari State Islamic Institute (IAIN) said that a consumeristic, hedonistic lifestyle has depoliticized university students in Indonesia, preventing them from thinking critically about social and political problems that beset those less fortunate than them.
The seminar was called “Islamic Higher Education Institutions’ Roles in Resolving Social Issues” and in it the minister also took the opportunity to criticize the universities themselves for encouraging the students’ apathetic and apolitical outlook instead of pushing them to participate in curing society’s ills.
The minister said the students should ask to be sent to remote areas for their internship program, known locally as “Kuliah Kerja Nyata” (KKN), where they can contribute to welfare programs for local residents.
Minister Khofifah said, they can help the poor and the marginalized, and help President Joko Widodo achieve one of the goals of his Nawacita [nine-prong development program] to eradicate poverty in Indonesia.
She added that the Nawacita program is targeting villages since poverty in Indonesia’s countryside is two times higher than in urban areas. She said, almost 14 percent of people living in the countryside live well below the poverty line. The figure in urban areas is only 7.73 percent.