The ministry of research, technology and higher education held on January 28 a briefing to present its evaluation on activities done last year and an outlook for 2019. It was themed “The preparation of Indonesia’s human resources that consist of millennials who are creative, innovative and highly competitive.”

Minister for research, technology and higher education Mohamad Nasir said human resources development was the ministry’s top priority this year. The majority of ministry’s budget in 2019 will be allocated to improve Indonesia’s human resources, such as the disbursement of scholarships for students, lecturers and researchers.

“They are the backbone for this country to have human resources that are innovative, creative and highly competitive,” said Nasir.

Increase in scholarship endowment

The allocation for Bidikmisi scholarship has raised from 3.76 billion rupiah in 2018 to 4.43 billion rupiah in 2019. The ministry hopes that 62,000 students could join the scheme this year. The ministry has also increased the budget for the ADIK scholarship which is given to students from West Papua, Papua and other underdeveloped regions in Indonesia.

Polytechnic revitalization

2019 will also be the year for the ministry to improve vocational education. The budget for this program rose from 320 billion rupiah in 2018 to 350 billion rupiah in 2019. There will be 12 polytechnics to benefit from this program.

Management of start-up firms and innovative prototypes

The ministry is giving incentives to new business players through incubation programs and funding. The budget for these programs has increased almost 100 percent from Rp 62 billion for 105 tenants to Rp 295 billion to 295 tenants. The ministry has also increased the budget for industrial production of prototypes, from Rp 51 billion for 25 prototypes in 2018 to Rp 75 billion for 73 prototypes in 2019.

Accomplishments in 2018

In the past four years since the current administration took office, the ministry has been able to achieve, even surpass, targets in initial plans.

Indonesia’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index – published by the World Economic Forum – was at 36th of 137 countries in the 2017-2018 period, achieving the score 4.7. It rose from 4.5 obtained in the 2015-2016 period when Indonesia was placed at 37th out of 140 states.

The figure of Indonesia’s domestic patents has also increased. Its rank went up to the number one in ASEAN region at the moment from third in 2015.

International publication

The increase of Indonesia’s international publications was 263.27 percent in the 2015-2018 period. The figure was recorded at 8,263 scientific articles in 2015 (fourth in the SEA region), rose to 12,295 scientific articles in 2016, to 20,239 articles in 2017 and finally to 30,017 articles in 2018. The latest figure brought Indonesia to the second position in the region, only behind Singapore.

Indonesia needs excellent higher education to produce research publications that can be received well at the global level. The number of researchers within research agencies in Indonesia who have both master’s and doctorate degrees rose gradually in the past four years (3,450 people in 2015 to 6,892 in 2018).

Access to higher education

Higher education gross enrolment rate increased every year in Indonesia (31.63 percent in 2016 to 34.58 percent in 2018). It means that 34.58 percent of citizens aged 19-23 in Indonesia were enrolled at higher education bodies in 2018.

The allocation for Bidikmisi scholarship has raised from 3.76 billion rupiah in 2018 to 4.43 billion rupiah in 2019. The ministry hopes that 62,000 students could join the scheme this year. The ministry has also increased the budget for the ADIK scholarship which is given to students from West Papua, Papua and other underdeveloped regions in Indonesia.

Improving the quality of higher education in Indonesia

The government assesses the accreditation of universities through the National Accreditation Agency for Higher Education Institutions (BANPT). The number of schools with A accreditation rose from 26 in 2015 to 85 in 2018.

Indonesia saw three of its universities included in the 2018 QS World University Rankings. They were University of Indonesia (UI), Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and Gadjah Mada University (UGM). Among the three, UI was the only one listed in the big 300 with its 292nd ranking.

Innovative research products

At the event, Nasir showcased some research products ready for marketing, such as the Gesit electric scooter assembled by the PT Wijaya Manufakturing – a consortium of PT Gesits Technologies Indo (GTI) and state-run construction firm PT Wijaya Karya Industri dan Konstruksi. Another product exhibited at the occasion was the palm-oil-based green fuel invented by ITB researchers.

The event was attended by higher education senior officials, news organisation leaders and other invited guests.