By Gede Raka
Introduction to the Talk Show
Since the beginning of the year 2020, we have experienced disruptions almost in all sectors of activities due to the coronavirus-19. We have no idea when this pandemic will be over, and how we will overcome it. In the middle of uncertainty about the time and format of the solution of this pandemic, one thing is very clear: Indonesia, now and after the pandemic, is and will be facing many challenges. We will relate the discussion on Education Transformation in the New Normal Era to three important challenges.
The first challenge: How shall we develop new habits or patterns of behavior in conducting activities in all sectors – education, social, economy, culture, religious ritual, public services – which are hygienically safe and, at the same time, ensure the realization of the expected outcomes?
The second challenge: How shall we accelerate economic development to compensate for the economic damages and stagnation caused by the pandemic?
The third challenge: How shall we build the strengths needed to be a strong nation in a completely new era in which consciousness would be separated from intelligence — an era that Yuval Noah Harari, a historian, referred to as the Great Decoupling?
In the past, intelligence and consciousness belong to one entity: the human being. Human beings are the most intelligent entity on this planet. We are also embodied with consciousness. But with the fast development of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, human beings can create machines, applications, and algorithms that are more intelligent than humans. Applications or algorithms that are more intelligent than humans are void of consciousness (moral, ethic, or social responsibility). The decoupling between intelligence and consciousness would bring big changes and disruptions in many domains: economy, social, politics, education, culture, and security.
The pressing question is: what kind of changes, which are urgent or important, are needed in the education sector in Indonesia to overcome those challenges?
Closing Remarks of the Talk Show
Following the presentation of our speakers (Mr. Nadiem Makarim, Ms. Nyoman Andjani, Ms. Radinka Qiera, and Prof. Dr. Reni Wirahadikusumah), please allow me to highlight several important points that they conveyed.
1. The education process should be conducted in very creative ways, such as by implementing advances in technology. This creativity is needed to:
a. Accelerate the equality of education quality across the country.
b. Promote and enhance the best of the nation’s potential, especially innovative potential.
2. Learning culture, process, and material should strengthen the spirit of unity in diversity and enable the nation to transform certain elements of Nusantara culture into strengths needed for the nation’s advancement.
3. Graduates should have the motivation and the ability for life-long learning so that their capability will always be relevant to the new challenges.
4. An education system that strengthens virtuous characters– e.g. high social responsibility and sense of humanity – to ensure that the technology advancement would be used for the greater good.
When education in Indonesia emphasizes those characteristics, we can expect that our education system would serve as one of the most important vehicles that build an advanced, peaceful, prosperous, just, and respected country. With such a system, our hope is for Indonesia to become a blessing for the progress of humanity.