Utilization of Information Technology as Media for Eliminating Education Restriction

The exchange of Memorandum of Understanding between Universitas Terbuka (UT) or Indonesia Open University and Universitas Perwira Purbalingga (UNPERBA) was held online and the ceremony was held in UTCC, UNPERBA and the Office of the Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (MPR-RI) on Friday, 8 April 2022. The text of the Memorandum of Agreement was signed on 8 March 2022. 

UT’s Rector, Prof. Ojat Darojat, M.Bus., Ph.D., stated that UT conducted cooperation with other parties in both academic and operational implementation. UT grows with partnership through resource sharing to ensure implementation cost efficiency. The number of its students and alumni is huge and it should improve its massive services. In the pandemic, all universities are operated virtually, and therefore, UT’s presence is to bridge the people by providing them some assistance to the people and the students to access virtual learning materials. The empowerment of the grand design in the networks, both synchronous and asynchronous, is supported by UT. In addition, with the university’s teaching staff members who provide the education virtually, UT is ready to help by sharing online pedagogy.

In his remarks, the Rector of UNPERBA expressed his gratitude for the cooperation for the development of online education programs. UNPERBA is ready to set up the rooms that facilitate the face-to-face tutorial programs that UT operates in the future. May the MoU be followed by Cooperation Agreement (PKS) that covers the implementation of Three Guiding Principles of Universities or Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi (PT) in the future. 

Present online from the Office of the Chairman of MPR, H. Bambang Soesatyo, S.E., M.B.A., as the Chairman of the Board of Patrons of Yayasan Perguruan Karya Bhakti Purbalingga in his speech stating that, the Memorandum of Understanding between UNPERBA and UT is very significant in the cooperation for the implementation of Three Guiding Principles of Universities as he welcomed and appreciated the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding as one form of contribution to the development of advanced and quality university ecosystem. The projection of UT and UNPERBA cooperation can be achieved as they both have the same global horizon, by strictly upholding the local wisdom, as well as adhering to the improvement of competitive HR quality. 

The activities and progresses of university are to become the primary institution that can produce quality human resources. University is the basic confluence for the nation. Based on the Education Statistics 2021, the data on population education level in Indonesia is still dominated by the people with low education level. In the year of 2021, the population who graduated from Senior High School/Equivalent is only 29.21 percent, and those who finish University Education is only 9.67 percent. From the above statistics, it shows that there are still so many things that need to be done, which are the increase of gross enrollment rate or angka partisipasi kasar (APK) and the distribution of higher education access that must reach out and are accessible by the people in general, including those who are underprivileged. It is because the public have the rights for equality and justice in education as mandated by the constitution. 

Synergy and collaboration as the tools in order to implement the concept of freedom to study or merdeka belajar where universities are free from any restraints or restricting shackles, whether it is the restriction of time bar, distance, and others. Education has to be open as wide as possible to the public. In the era of technology disruption today, the utilization of Information Technology must become the media that can eliminate education restriction. Restricting distance, space, and time will no longer be an issue as it has already been proven by the teaching staff members and the management of UT. 

As a long-established university (37 years) by putting forward the open and distance education system, many experiences have been gained by the universities that are relatively new, including UNPERBA. The Spokesperson or Chairman of MPR, UNPERBA must be able to become a student of UT which is the pioneer of distance learning. The concept of freedom to study or merdeka belajar serves as the basis for the memorandum of agreement for other fields which are purported to improve the services and access to education, which is to produce alumni that possess good quality and global competitiveness. 

In addition to the senior officials from UT, present in the online event were Rahmat Budiman, M.Hum., Ph.D. (Vice Rector for Institutional Development and Pertnership), Prof. Dr. Karnedi, M.A. (Head of Technical Implementation Unit, Distance Learning Program - Padang), Dr. Milwan, M.Si. (Head of Academic, Students and Planning Bureau UT), Dr. Subekti Nurmawati, M.Si. (Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology), Prof. Dr. Mohammad Imam Farisi, M.Pd. (Secretary of the Institute of Research and Community Services), Dra. Any Meilani, M.Si. (Deputy Dean for Finance and General Affairs of the Faculty of Economics), and Dr. Siti Aisyah, M.Pd. (Deputy Dean for Students Affairs and Cooperation of the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training), and Maya Maria, S.E., M.M. (Director of the Center for the Development of International Relations and Partnership or PPHIK), as well as all staff members of the Office of Vice Rector for Institutional Development and Partnership and also from PPHIK). 

The senior officials from UNPERBA who were present virtually, including: H. Bambang Soesatyo, S.E., MBA (Chairman of the Education Foundation Yayasan Perguruan Karya Bhakti Purbalingga), Wisnudi Bargowo (Chairman of Yayasan Perguruan Karya Bhakti Purbalingga), Dr. Teguh Djuharyanto M.P (Rector of UNPERBA), Dr. Eming Sudiana, M.Si (Vice Rector 1 UNPERBA), Dr. Suprapto M.S  (Vice Rector 2 Unperba), Dr. Kamson (Dean of FEB UNPERBA),  Ir. Sugeng Suyatno M.P (Dean of FST UNPERBA), Suwali M.P (Head of LPPM UNPERBA), Reza Rahmadi H, S.T.,  M.M. (Head of LP3M UNERBA), Drs. Suyitno (Head of Bureau UNPERBA), and all the heads of Study Programs/Departments (Mechanical Engineering, Information Technology, Agrobusiness, Management, and Accounting of UNPERBA). 

It is hoped that UT will intensify the cooperation among universities in order to realize national education for the improvement of the national life quality as mandated by the constitution.