The Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education (Menristekdikti), Mohamad Nasir, opened Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL) Conference 2017 in Makassar, on Wednesday (17/5). With the theme “Higher Education Challenges in Shaping National Competitiveness.” the Conference is being held over three days at Hasanuddin University (Unhas) Makasar. More than 200 universities from 28 countries are members of the Association.
Nasir emphasized that collaboration between countries on higher education was necessary. He held the view that education, particularly higher education, had the power to upgrade individual competence, community social progress, and cultural development. Nasir continued that, through education, a person found their place in the world, understood the world, and implanted the seeds of appreciation among others.
He went on to explain that higher education makes a prominent contribution to economic development and quality of life of an individual. Positive economic indicators rise alongside the education level. In the field of global competition, each nation’s economic advancement is determined by its national system of education and innovation.
Nasir further explained that presently Indonesia is emphasizing development of higher education and innovation in 7+1 specific fields to support the economic development. These are food security, health, information technology, transportation, nanotechnology, defense and security (hankam), renewable energy, as well as marine. In light of this, Nasir believes that higher education institutions of higher quality are required, for they act as the gatekeepers, disseminators and creators of new sciences. In the future, people who graduate from these institutions will those capable of creating job opportunity in fresh fields, policy makers, social innovators and business leaders.
The Rector of Hasanuddin University, Dwi Aries Tina, said that this international conference was placing emphasis on three essential discussions: quality and relevance of higher education, access and equality, as well as health of the organization of higher education. She expected that this conference would be able to provide suggestions for research and higher education development.