Indonesia failed to address past human rights violations despite promises from top officials and commitments by President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, a new report on Thursday (22/02) showed. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Shaping Generation Y Is Crucial to Facing Global Challenges: Jokowi


JULY 23, 2017

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo emphasized the role of teachers in nurturing the younger generation, with special focus on the so-called Generation Y, or people born during the 1980s and early 1990s, amidst rapid global challenges.

Speaking at the opening of the national leadership coordination meeting of the Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) at Hotel Sahid Jaya in Yogyakarta on Saturday (22/07), Jokowi touched on the crucial role of teachers in guiding the younger generation and keeping them away from harmful influences.

"The PGRI will play an increasingly significant role in anticipating the changing of the times. Education is a vital part of a nation's process to build its dignity," Jokowi said. He added that children must not be educated only through social media.

The president also remarked on the role of Generation Y, or millennials, as a driving force of change and as future market players.

The term is used to describe a generation of people who are more familiar with digital and electronic technology and use it on daily basis. Millennials are also very active on using social media and take full advantage of the internet.

The increasingly interconnected nature of our world has influenced the way people access information. Newspapers and television are no longer people's primary sources of information, as the internet has paved the way for it to be accessed with a simple click on a handheld device.

However, easily accessible information can also have a harmful impact on society. As the increasing threat of disinformation and radicalism pose new challenges to society, the way we consume content must be evaluated.

Jokowi said such developments would undoubtedly result in unforeseen changes, which must be anticipated.

"Who could anticipate these changes? It is all of you teachers present here today. As you guide them, do not forget to be careful. Make sure that the tide of change does not impact the cultural and social characteristics of our children," Jokowi said.

He also expressed hope that teachers will continue to carry out their noble duties and invite those who are looking to learn to find truth and goodness.

"Teachers are the primary actors in education and we need to continue innovating to transform the existing mindsets in a spirited attempt to educate," the president said.

He added that teachers should also consider giving students different types of homework.

Instead of written or subject-based homework, the president said students should be exposed to other activities, such as visiting a sick neighbor, to build the character of the country's youth.

Throughout his speech, Jokowi emphasized teachers' roles in nurturing and guiding students through all aspects of life and not only that which is confined to the strict walls of educational institutions and subject-based materials. He raised the importance for teachers to instill good values, including honesty, self-discipline and a proper work ethic.

"Let us fill our children with good and noble souls, for teachers are role models, a source of inspiration, and primary examples," Jokowi said.

Radicalized Youth

Jokowi's speech comes at a time when the country needs a collective effort to respond to the challenges of extremism and radicalism. Beginning at a place where most youths spend their time, the president's call represents one of Indonesia's challenges in a world of uncertainties.

According to Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, one of the main causes of radicalism among the youth is the wrongful teaching of religion, which leads to misinterpretation.

Lukman said most radicalized youths tend to believe that their understanding of religion is the only acceptable truth.

"Children who have a good understanding of what religion truly teaches will not descend into extremism or violence," Lukman said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

The Ministry of Social Affairs said it has identified more than 150 youths who are believed to have been radicalized.

But the real number is likely to be considerably higher, due to the presence of unidentified radicals and the rise of hardliners across the archipelago. The government has yet to conduct thorough research on the youth and its exposure to radical views.