Quoted as saying by Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” there are so many who question and doubt that one will ever finish university study while working overseas. Yet, such doubt has been responded by 85 Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI) in Malaysia, who have successfully graduated and received their bachelor’s degrees from Universitas Terbuka. It was held hybrid on Sunday 28 August 2022, the graduation ceremony was broadcast live on the YouTube UT TV channel. UT’s graduates who were convoked this time were from the Study Group of UT Kuala Lumpur 60 graduates, the Study Group of UT Johor 13 graduates, and the Study Group of UT Penang 12 graduates. Of the 85 graduates, 42 followed it offline from the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesian (KBRI) Kuala Lumpur, 5 graduates followed the graduation ceremony online from Johor, and the other 38 graduates followed the graduation ceremony online from Indonesia as their contracts of employment have terminated and already returned to Indonesia.
The graduation ceremony this time was attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia for the Kingdom of Malaysia, Hermono; the Functional Coordinator for Education Social and Culture Affairs – KBRI Kuala Lumpur, Yossi Iskandar; Education Social and Culture Affairs Consul of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia (KJRI) Johor Bahru, Mohamad Rizali Noor; Police LO of KJRI Johor Bahru, AKBP Yunik Dwi Astuti, S.IK., M.Si.; Education Social and Culture Affairs Consul of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia (KJRI) Penang, Andri Djufri Said; the Principal of Indonesian School or Sekolah Indonesia – Kuala Lumpur, Friny Napasti, M.Pd.; the Caretaker of the Study Group of UT Kuala Lumpur, Taufiqurrahman Hayim; the Caretaker of the UT’s Study Group of Johor Bahru, Syafrizal Nugraha; and the Caretaker of the UT’s Study Group of Penang, Mia.
There were also present online, UT’s Vice Rector for Institutional Development and Partnership Affairs, Rahmat Budiman, S.S., M.Hum., Ph.D., Head of Institute for Research and Community Service (LPPM-UT), Dr. Paken Pandiangan, S.Si., M.Si., and Director of the Overseas Students Management Center of Universitas Terbuka (PPMLN-UT) Dr. Pardamean Daulay, S.Sos., M.Si.
The program was opened by the remarks and report of the Director of LPPMP-UT, Dr. Paken Pandiangan, S.Si., M.Si. In his address, he congratulated the Indonesian Migrant Workers who have graduated on that day, having shown a strong determination since the beginning to enhance their personal competence by studying with Universitas Terbuka. Studying while working is not easy, but it is valuable investment for our life. He wishes that the bachelor’s degree that they earned today would become the personal asset/capital for their future success, especially when they return to Indonesia.
UT’s Vice Rector for Institutional Development and Partnership Affairs, Rahmat Budiman, S.S., M.Hum., Ph.D. in his remarks, congratulated the 85 graduates for their success that they earn today by completing their studies with Universitas Terbuka. He believed that working while doing their studies with UT is not easy tasks. Needing extraordinary efforts and struggles, discipline, and independence in study. He added that education is one of aspects of life which is profoundly affected by the pandemic Covid-19. It has forced higher education institutions to adapt by conducting online learning. UT as the pioneer of distance and open university (PTJJ) in Indonesia has implemented the distance learning system by utilizing the latest information technology and it has no fear or concern to adapt in the implementation of the online learning.
Various innovations and breakthroughs are continuously being made so that the UT’s academic quality and prestige or dignity can always be maintained and stand out. A number of study services that UT provides include Tutorial Webinar (Tuweb), take home exam (THE), and Online Examination System or Sistem Ujian Online (SUO). With the online examination system, the students will find taking exam easier.
In addition, as UT’s efforts and commitment to providing the access to Indonesian Migrant Workers who wish to continue their higher education, on 28 June 2022, UT signed the Memorandum of Agreement between Ministry of Manpower and Universitas Terbuka on the Capacity Building of Human Resources In Support of the Manpower Development. With this collaboration, UT can participate in actual ways in the promotion of knowledge, views, and skills of the Indonesian Migrant Workers. It is expected that by the time when they return to Indonesia, the Indonesian Migrant Workers who are graduating from UT would possess top-quality competence so they can contribute in “preparing the generation of the people 2045.”
The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia for the Kingdom of Malaysia, Hermono, congratulated and felt pride of the graduates, who were present both online and offline. He hopes that the knowledge they get can be beneficial for themselves, their families, and also for the nation and country. He stated that in Malaysia, now there are 915 UT’s students. It is hoped that in the future there will be more Indonesians, especially the Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia who pursue their education with UT. It is in line with his conviction that education is one of the pathways in order to improve their life to better social and economic levels or strata. With education, men will have more quality, capability, and capacity to personally develop themselves.
The series of the program continued with the reading out of the Decree of the UT’s Rector on the Decision on the Graduation and Announcement of the Best Graduates. The best graduates of each Study Group are Aulia Diah Meireni of the Study Program of English Literature in Translation from the Study Group of Kuala Lumpur, Monica Renjani of the Study Program of English Literature in Translation, from the Study Group of Johor, Fiarti Meta Rosela of the Study Program of Accounting from the Study Group of Penang. The awards are presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia for the Kingdom of Malaysia, Hermono. The event continued with the reading out of the oath of graduates and speech by the graduate representative Ms. Sri Supatmi from the Study Group of Kuala Lumpur.