Covid-19 Pandemic has changed many aspects in the arrangements of the people’s life throughout the world. The people now have the obligations to proceed with health protocols for Covid-19, including reducing outdoor activities which has become a custom in their new life (new normal). Education sector is no exception and now, it must be done at home. The challenges to encounter Covid-19 have created some education innovations in Indonesia.
In respond to this, Indonesia Open University or Universitas Terbuka has worked together with Media Indonesia in conducting the webinar Indonesia Bicara or Indonesia Talks on "Indonesia Study from Home: Online to Offline" which was broadcast on Youtube Channel platform on Thursday (5/11/2020). This Webinar invited some keynote speakers, consisting of Nadiem Makarim, Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, Prof. Ir. Nizam, M.Sc., DIC, Ph.D. Director General of Education, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Rector of the Indonesia Open University or Universitas Terbuka, Prof. Ojat Darojat, M.Bus. Ph.D. The program was convened by the Chief Editor of Media Group, Usman Kansong.
In the dialog, Nadiem stated that in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, educators are demanded to innovate so that education and learning processes can carry on. Various innovations have come about into existence in education nowadays, including curriculum innovation, in form of curriculum simplification. Furthermore, technology innovation has been made in presenting learning and teaching process and effectuate the BOS funds (government education funding) in the underdeveloped, outermost and borderline or 3T areas and BOS funds (government education funding) affirmation for private schools. Similarly, the innovations of learning and teaching innovation methods have also been made by further utilizing or exploring various technology platforms so that the learning and teaching will remain effective. Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia has launched 2021 programs, which are school digitalization by guaranteeing that the toolkits of Information and Communication Technology are accelerated with some platform initiatives by taking into consideration of the capability or capacity of each school.
Nadiem also appreciated the UT’s accomplishment as it has been the pioneer in the implementation of distance education (PJJ) and additionally, the number of its students are so numerous. UT has become a model and one of the supports for Ministry of Education and Culture in providing quality education which is reaching out to the most remote areas. Nadiem also sees the potency for online learning that can be carried out permanently.
Meanwhile, Nizam observed that the lecturers in Indonesia have been able to adopt quickly in dealing with the changes during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this is including the assistances from various social strata in the communities, such as education volunteers. Nizam also appreciated as there are so many community services for the people which have been done by many universities, as well as the researches conducted which largely focus on the mitigation on Covid-19 pandemic.
Ministry of Education and Culture and UT are mutually synergized, sharing, and collaborating while providing distance education services, which can be accessed on the website spada.kemendikbud.go.id by the teachers, lecturers, students and university students at no costs. Ojat stated that UT has been growing rapidly in line with ICT development, and therefore, learning delivery can proceed smoothly in accordance with its mission to provide fair access distribution to all the people of Indonesia, especially those who live in the borderline, most remote, and underdeveloped areas (3T). In distance education, UT has provided various kinds of study materials which are different than the regular textbooks as they are equipped with self-instruction manuals, so that the students would be able to study the courses by themselves. Nowadays, UT has also developed web-based online examinations with the assistance of online proctoring so the UT students may do their exams online wherever they are as long as they are connected with internet.