Indonesians visit bringing scholarships, e-learning
Officials from Indonesia's Ministry of Education and Culture are in the territory to recruit locals who are interested in studying abroad for either six months or one year, and at the same time set up n e-learning center at the American Samoa Community College.
Dr. Ing Ir Agus Maryono, the Deputy Director for Administration for the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Regional Open Learning Centre in Indonesia told Samoa News yesterday that their goal is to submit the names of five local individuals for consideration for scholarships to study in Indonesia.
Dr. Maryono is accompanied on this trip by Iwan Prih Hatmoko and Mari Sugiah, two representatives from the Bureau of Planning and International Cooperation of Indonesia's Ministry of Education and Culture.
The trio, on their first ever visit to the territory, are setting up an e-learning center at ASCC, equipping it with 20 laptop computers (five of which are already up and running), for use by ASCC students.
"The purpose of our visit is to set up the e-learning center and propose a scholarship program for people here to study in Indonesia," Dr. Maryono explained. "E-learning is very effective."
He said that in addition to the laptops, they are also looking at implementing the use of e-books, so students can use CDs for studying purposes, as opposed to traditional textbooks.
Also, the group wants to emphasize the use of video streaming for lectures, meaning lectures will be recorded and students will be able to watch them online, and play them back as often as needed until they fully understand the context.
"It will be very similar to an online seminar where viewers can stop, go back, fast forward, and watch it over and over again," the deputy director explained. He added they anticipate having 2-3 presenters from here as well as Indonesia collaborate online, as experts from around the world watch via the internet.
Dr. Maryono said they have a lot planned, including the push for teaching and learning management, meaning the activities between the lecturer/teacher and student are recorded and questions can be asked back and forth using sophisticated software programs. He said Skype can also be used for evaluation, discussions, and lectures whereby the student and the teacher can interact verbally in real time.
With regards to exams, he explained they utilize the SEACC, which is the Southeast Asia Cyber Class, to administer examinations. "These are what we have planned for American Samoa," Dr. Maryono said. "And we are beginning with the purchase of the 20 laptops for the ASCC which is all being funded by the Indonesian government."
So why the interest in American Samoa?
Hatmoko said the answer is simple. He explained that earlier this year in March, Dino Patti Jalal who is the Indonesian ambassador to the US visited the territory and was bestowed a chiefly title. "That is one of the reasons why we are here," Hatmoko explained, adding that in 2010 US President Barack Obama visited the Indonesian President in the capital city of Jakarta and a comprehensive partnership agreement was made.
"That means our goal is not just to focus on the US mainland, but also the US territories as well," Hatmoko said. He added that last year, Indonesia's Ministry of Education and Culture with their counterparts in Washington DC began to collaborate on a working group that focuses on education, mainly higher education, hence their visit to the territory.
As for scholarships, Hatmoko explained that the Darmasiswa scholarship is available to all interested locals. Currently, over 1,000 people from around the globe are studying culture and arts in Indonesia under this scholarship program. The group hopes to have a list of local names to submit to their embassy in DC so they can start school under the scholarship program as early as next month, when the new school year in Indonesia officially opens.
'We want to get a list of at least ten names and from there, we will interview them today and tomorrow (at the latest) and select five people whose names we will submit to our embassy in DC for consideration," Dr. Maryono said, noting they are looking for individuals who are interested in the fields of culture and information technology (IT).
Interested individuals will need to provide all the necessary documents and the point of contact is the Governor's Office, which serves as the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Maryono and Hatmoko stress that locals shouldn't feel awkward about studying in Indonesia, as English is spoken there, so there shouldn't be a language barrier, and they have a very diverse culture — so fitting in shouldn't be a problem.
Those on scholarship can either choose to live in the dormitories or with family members.
Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Women's Affairs (DYWA) Pa'u Roy Taito Ausage, who is hosting the traveling group, said his department's role in this has to do with the development of local youth and women in every area, including education.
Pa'u explained there are talks about targeting government employees working in the fields of IT and education and culture. He added that they will also be pulling applications from the Human Resources registry, which includes a number of individuals who are either high school graduates or hold an Associate’s degree.
He said their office will be requesting a scholarship slot to be awarded to women for training in advanced sewing so they can return to the territory and teach classes in that field.
"This trip and these programs being offered by the Indonesian government could not have come at a better time, as we are working on the development of our local blue collar workforce by offering numerous programs so they can advance and become better at what they do," Pa'u said.
Currently, the DYWA is offering apprenticeship courses for welding and painting, and other programs for sewing, flower arranging, cooking, and the Women on Wheels program that teach women how to be amateur automobile mechanics.
The Indonesian delegation will be departing the territory this Friday night.
Those interested in applying for a chance to study in Indonesia can contact Pa'u directly at 633-2835 for more information.
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.