Jakarta. A recent government study showed that Indonesians —even those living in the country’s most advanced province Jakarta— are not making good use of digital technology.
The Communications and Informatics Ministry on Tuesday unveiled the 2022 Indonesia Digital Society Index. The study becomes one of the government’s attempts to measure the country’s digital skills and literacy by putting several relevant parameters on a scale of 1 to 100. The digital society index encompasses four pillars, namely: infrastructure & ecosystem; digital skills; empowerment; and work.
Indonesia’s average digital society index score was 37.8. But the result for the empowerment pillar is incredibly harrowing, only reaching 22.06. This is significantly lower than the three other pillars, whose scores top 40.
The national score for digital skills averages 49.35, followed by the work pillar (40.35), and infrastructure & ecosystem (40.24).
“All this time we have always worried about equitable internet access. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged us to build a more equitable upstream digital infrastructure across the archipelago,” Technology and Informatics Minister Johnny G Plate said at the study launch.
“It is no easy task, but we continue to work on it. The money that we have put into [the digital infrastructure project] is no small amount. But we are still not quick enough when it comes to working on the empowerment [pillar] and the downstream aspect,” Johnny added.
According to the study, the empowerment pillar primarily measures whether people are using technology in a productive manner, be it as users or providers. This would include providing or using e-learning services. Usage of digital finance and e-commerce also fall under the productive use of technology.
Even in the highly advanced Jakarta, the empowerment score only reached 29.17.
East Kalimantan, which is the host of the country’s future capital project, becomes the province with the highest empowerment pillar index, scoring at 30.6. North Maluku saw an empowerment score of 6.6 — the only province with a single-digit figure.
The survey also paints a grim picture of Indonesia’s digital disparity. Even within the same province, certain pillars are still falling behind the rest. Take Jakarta for example. Jakarta’s infrastructure, digital skills, and work pillars all score at least 50. This means that Jakarta’s empowerment index is at least 20 points behind the three other pillars.
“This great disparity is something that we need to pay attention to,” Johnny said.