Habibie Festival Brings Science, Technology to Jakarta’s Youth

In view of the fact that only 30 percent of researchers in the world are women, international beauty care company L'Oréal launched a global campaign titled #ChangeTheNumbers in an effort to address the issue. (JG Photo/ Megan Herndon)

By : Megan Herndon | on 11:12 AM August 12, 2016
Category : News, Education

Jakarta. Elementary schoolers using microscopes, kids cheering during a science-magic show and high school students deep in thought around a 3D printer are just a few things you can see at the Habibie Festival this weekend at Museum Nasional Jakarta.

The festival, which opened on Thursday (11/08) and will run until Aug. 14, celebrates the 80th birthday of former president B.J. Habibie and the launch of Berkarya!Indonesia — a movement to bolster technology and innovation among Indonesia's youth.

“My father believes that a nationwide adoption and understanding of advanced and applied technologies for innovative use is the key to creating a better Indonesia,” said Ilham Habibie, the founder of Berkarya!Indonesia and son of the former president.

“We also want to promote STEAM education [science, technology, engineering, arts and Math] to future generations. They are the ones who will build the future of this country and they are the ones who will lead us.”

Ruli Harahap, a public relations coordinator with Berkarya!Indonesia, said the festival hopes to educate young Indonesians about opportunities in STEAM and breaking barriers in accessing technology. He said their mission is to get young people to use technology beyond daily consumption.

“We want [young people] not only using [technology] to consume media, to consume content, but to also create content of their own,” he said.

The festival offers STEAM activities for all ages. Friday’s events will be catered towards high school students, where they will use makerspaces with technology such as CNC machines for coding and 3D printers.

While Saturday will be geared towards university students,and will connect them with professionals from the festival’s partners such as Korean tech company Samsung and Indonesia's biggest telecommunication company Telkomsel.

“We have several universities in Indonesia with great STEM programs but not a lot of them have the technology or the facilities needed to compete on a more regional or international level,” Harahap said. “So the movement is trying to bridge people who have technology and people who need it.”

Sunday’s activities will be targeted towards families and will give kids a chance for some hands on science.

Yovita Yunarti, a representative from festival partner Da Vinci Learning, said they are offering activities that introduce science in easily digestible ways for kids, such as games and magic shows.

“The kids are so excited, this place is full,” she said. “Science opens their minds. It’s around all them; every time the kids open their eyes they see science. They’re so excited to learn.”

Ruli hopes giving young people better access to technology can have a lasting positive impact on Indonesia’s future.

“STEAM is the most basic building blocks of how you build a better society,” he said. “We’re taking a grassroots approach and getting people to innovate from the bottom up so eventually everybody will be more productive, more creative. We want the people of this country to stop just being consumers and start thinking about how they can create with the tools available.”

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