Human Resources in the Framework of Telematika Indonesia

Mrs. Huda Bahweres
Deputy Director for International Cooperation, Office of the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Indonesia

In 1997, Indonesia launched a program called "Nusantara-21" or "Telematika Indonesia", to anticipate globalization in the field of telecommunications, overseen by a team of 14 ministers and IT professionals, demonstrating the seriousness of the Indonesian government in launching Telematika Indonesia.

The objective of Telematika Indonesia was to develop national telecommunications in 300 districts throughout the country. The concept is one of an "information highway," integrating infrastructure on the available networks using satellite, fiber optic cables, TV cables, cellular and broadcasting technologies. It is hoped that this will result in the country being subdivided into six network "rings," and within each ring will be a group of multimedia cities, consisting of networks of provincial capitals and Community Multimedia Access Centers, available in all provinces.

Telematika also aimed to provide equal opportunities for the Indonesian society in utilizing global information access. Telematika Indonesia is large in scope and requires a similarly large budget. However, the impact of the Asian economic crisis necessitated changes to the original plans for the program, and it now aims to optimize existing infrastructure. Aspects of Telematika Indonesia currently being focused on include applications for empowering civil service administration, enriching social life, supporting the creation of business competitiveness, and supporting national security and defense.

Each of the above-mentioned aspects is interrelated and each plays a specific role in the development of IT. However, in terms of human resources, and awareness and knowledge, Indonesia is still facing problems in raising public awareness of the Telematika initiative, due to the lack of familiarity of Indonesian society with the Internet world. Internet users in Indonesia account for only 1% of the population. However, some efforts are being made and 2001 has been announced as the year for National Movement of Telematika. Various measures have been launched:

  • Development of networks and infrastructures
  • Education and training
  • Application technology
  • Community development
  • Strategy and Policy Development
  • Telematika Centers of Industries Development
  • Seminars, conferences and publications
  • Exposition and Promotion

In terms of human resources in government institutions, there is an objective to develop government officials who are information-minded, from the top level of administration to the lower levels of administration.

Education plays a vital role in the utilization of IT. In Indonesia, the access of schools to information and knowledge is still an obstacle. Efforts have been made to overcome barriers to IT use in schools, including the SMU (School) 2000, which was launched in August 1999. This program was organized by the Association of Internet Users (APJII), who argued that the earlier the introduction to the Internet, the easier the individual would be able to face the new century. One of the targets of the program was to connect as many as 2,000 schools to the Internet during 2000, out of a total of about 11,000 high schools and 3,000 vocational schools in the entire country. To achieve this target, the APJII has undertaken a number of socialization programs in schools, and has arranged cooperation in the provision of hardware and software for schools. However, it is unclear whether the target of 2,000 schools has been attained.

The Indonesian workforce is 78.8 million and it is expected to increase by 13.8 million annually. Publications have been distributed and seminars, road shows, talk shows and exhibitions held in order to build knowledge and improve skill levels amongst the workforce. In addition, the establishment of Centers of Telematika Industries in some regions is contributing directly and indirectly toward increasing the population of the telecommunications workforce.

By establishing the program "Nusantara-21" or Telematika Indonesia, the Indonesian government has demonstrated a commitment to develop synergies between telecommunications and information technologies in facing the global era. The implementation of the program requires huge capital outlays, appropriate infrastructure and skilled human resources, but due to the economic crisis the program cannot be applied as it was originally conceived.

Human resources play a crucial role in utilizing IT. The condition of human capital, awareness, knowledge and education in society, government, education, and the workforce in general is not quite ready for utilizing IT or for the development of the Telematika program as it was planned. To develop skilled human resources, many programs of activities are being implemented in the framework of Telematika Indonesia. A continuing process is required to prepare the skilled human resources, in government institutions, education and the workforce, due to the rapid development of information technology.

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