During the Covid-19 pandemic, education is among the important issues to overcome, so that students still have opportunities to continue learning and growing. The Merdeka Belajar program is established by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia to provide easy access and flexibility for students in getting education everywhere and at any time, based on their preferences, talents, and competencies.
In showing the incessant supports toward the Merdeka Belajar program, the 7 SEAMEO Centers in Indonesia held an international webinar with a theme "Contribution and Impacts of SEAMEO Centers Indonesia on Education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia" on 3 May 2021. The International Webinar was also held to commemorate the Indonesian National Education Day 2021.
R. Alpha Amirrachman, MPhil, PhD, the Director of SEAMEO SEAMOLEC, in his welcome remarks, stated that the International Webinar aimed to: 1. emphasize the relevance of celebrating the Indonesian National Education Day; 2. highlight the critical roles of the 7 SEAMEO Centers in Indonesia in the education sector in Indonesia and Southeast Asia; 3. share the efforts of the 7 SEAMEO Centers in Indonesia in generating knowledge and building capacities of school's headmasters, teachers, and education personnel toward enhancing the quality of education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia; and 4. establish potentials collaborations among the 7 SEAMEO Centers in Indonesia and with the other educational institutions.
The opening remark of the International Webinar was delivered by Prof Ainun Na'im, PhD, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia. In his opening remark, he explained that the Merdeka Belajar program is designed to promote a spirit of mutual collaboration and cooperation among all educational institutions in providing a more creative and innovative learning system for students, to actualize their potentials. "It is expected that SEAMEO Centers in Indonesia will enforce, facilitate and support our Merdeka Belajar program", he further explained.
Keynote address sent by Dr Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, the SEAMEO Secretariat Director, summarized the importance of education in alleviating poverty by: 1. elevating the economic status of students through the learnings of skills and economic value systems; 2. assisting students in becoming leaders and innovators; and 3. setting up the basis for students in earning income in this era of a fluctuating economy.
The International Webinar of the 7 SEAMEO Center in Indonesia presented the Directors of 7 SEAMEO Centers in Indonesia as resource persons, delivering presentations as follows:
- SEAMEO BIOTROP: SEAMEO BIOTROP Contribution and Impacts to Education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
- SEAMEO SEAMOLEC: Development of Distance Learning in Higher Education.
- SEAMEO RECFON: Building Healthy Human Capitals through Freedom Learning.
- SEAMEO QITEP in Science: SEAQIS Contribution and Impacts on Education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
- SEAMEO QITEP in Mathematics: Contribution and Impacts on Education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
- SEAMEO QITEP in Language: SEAQIL Contribution and Impacts on Language Learning in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
- SEAMEO CECCEP: Contribution and Impacts of SEAMEO CECCEP to Education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Each presentation was followed by testimonials videos from the stakeholders of the respective SEAMEO Centers.
In his closing remark, Mr Hendraman, MSc, PhD, the Acting Head of Bureau for Cooperation and Public Relation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, expressed his appreciation toward the SEAMEO Secretariat and the Directors of the 7 SEAMEO Center in Indonesia for sharing ideas, knowledge, and experiences in developing education in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, which are in line with the Merdeka Belajar program. (sis)