Indonesia Faces Uphill Battle to Achieve Sci-Tech Goals

The Jakarta Post, page 3

Indonesia is facing an uphill battle to achieve its scientific and education dreams by 2045, with many of its scientists still struggling to produce quality work worthy of publication.

In a document released by the Indonesia Academy of Sciences (AIPI) last Friday, the lack of language proficiency among local researchers has been listed as one of the major hurdles the country must overcome if it ever wants to be on a par with its regional peers in science and technology.

The document, Buku Putih Sains, Teknologi, dan Pendidikan Tinggi Menuju Indonesia 2045 (The White Paper on Science, Technology and Higher Education For Indonesia Through To 2045), was written by AIPI upon the request of the government. The government has said that the year 2045 will be an important milestone for Indonesia.

The National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) projects that on the 100th anniversary of the country’s Independence Day, Indonesia will have become the world’s fourth largest economy.

AIPI argues that the nation’s scientific dreams could be achieved through a combination of “strong economic growth” and an increased quality of higher education graduates and research that could cater to industry demands.

However, the group said that current conditions in the country’s education and research environment would not help Indonesia’s development goals.

AIPI cites a 2016 piece by The Lancet chief editor Richard Horton entitled “Indonesia – Unraveling the Mystery of a Nation.” The Piece argues that “the country has more of an oral than a written culture” and that “its research community is less familiar with the dominant scientific language of English.”

The problems, according to AIPI’s document, have been caused by the government’s decision to neglect literary education since the 1950’s

AIPI argues that proficiency in basic intellectual skills could improve Indonesia’s performance in research, especially in terms of writing scientific publications of international-level quality.

As of Dec. 22 last year, Indonesia has had 9,457 papers published in scientific journals indexed in Scopus. Malaysia has produced the largest number in the region, with 24,168 publications, followed by Singapore with 18,125 publications and Thailand with 12,611 publications.

AIPI said for the longer term, the government has to thoroughly reform lower, middle and higher education in order to improve the ability of the nation’s younger generation to master basic skills such as language.

Systemic problems, such as budget constraints and a lack of high-quality lecturers, meanwhile, also serve as another stumbling block, AIPI writes in the paper.

AIPI recommends that the government increase the allocation for research and development in the state budget. Such an initiative would ensure a good environment for research.

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