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Indonesian Education Dilemma: Research as Imaginary Activity

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In the past I writes about dilemma of education in Indonesia from three main perspectives:

  • Student: Work preparation (skills, thesis, publication (quality, plagiarism))
  • Lecturer: Career (publication, benefit, linearity, workload ratio)
  • Owner: Business model (competition, student intake)

Student only care on the purpose of education as preparation for their work life. So, student expecting some transferable skills such as analytical skills (problem solving, decision management etc something abstract), interpersonal skills (teamwork, communication, leadership). How about writing paper? -well its too far, its secondary need, its luxury for the student to afford that.

In University, no one care about research
Does student motivated to attend the class because of in the hope that they can know about thermodynamics and quantum mechanics principle? no of course. First, they are expecting getting high mark. Second, if there is no mark, they are expecting they know detail about this subject, so when they work in the future, they know how to speak -being valued higher as having better interpersonal skill with their employeer, which assume that the new employee might fit in working environment.

On the other hand, Lecturer only care about their career, which mean expecting low workload, higher benefit. How about doing research? -well still far, but better than the student. And the last, business owner, in this case the university owner, they never even think about research. They only think about the student intake -which is the foundation of education business. Yes, they care about research but only in a sense as cosmetics, additional benefit to their university business performance.

So who should care about research?
In university, no one care about research. Its like telling the bus driver to wear life jacket. The bus driver never care about life jacket -a bit absurd illustration. The only people that care with life jacket is the government. Because a number of life jacket that used increase the country rating. The number of paper published increase the university ranking.

Another sample on why university never care about research is the fact that the university QS rating is a game that only top university like UI or ITB that care about. Even the fact that the smaller university like UNDIP or UNS that fully published their research paper while the ITB/UI/UGM choosing to limit their research paper by only giving abstract and TOC is strange to me. The logic always work differently. The only explanation why ITB/UI/UGM restrict their paper compare with IPB/UNDIP/UNS that choose to fully open their research paper is because of business competition -which is not about research. No university should even care about research.

What if we expect Government support research?
In the ideal (imaginary) level, the purpose of government is to protect its citizen. But the government is made up by elit people (politician) which having a power from other people -which agree to give their power to them.

But it should be noted that the effort to acumulate this power is very very expensive. Those elit should build its vehicle -a political party. This political party is selling something, they promise something for their voter. They promising wealth, safety and justice. On the practical level, politician promising to give education/health/employment which then translated into number of policies -if they are elected.

So do you think government will support research
If the research is not an issues that common people interested in, research is going nowhere. If no one feel the benefit of research, no one will.

Final question, how to make Indonesian research better?
First, understand what is research, research is expensive, its luxury. It require a society transition, it require fundamental change in culture. Its like a rich person in small village that expecting to have a Ferrari in the dirt bad street. At some point that rich person can afford to buy a Ferrari, but the infrastructure is not ready. He will buy Ferrari to certain purpose -which of course not matter of transportation.

Should we give remote uncontacted tribe an education
As measurement (as a noun, a stastical), research can be understood as indication on which level a society in. However as a activity (as a verb) there is complex interaction behind it. As of 2016 we are on this level

“#57 by number of journal and h-index, #85 by percentage of GDP”

Written by Anjar Priandoyo

Februari 25, 2016 pada 11:17 am

Ditulis dalam Science

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