At the end of 2021 and early 2022, the mainstream media – Kompas – raised issues of higher education/university (education industrialization, collaboration, research and innovation, digital disruption, competency of graduates, lecturers, professors) which in several ways caused concern and sadness. There are nuances of hypocrisy, academic prostitution, and the growth of educational predators. However, we should still think positively. In order for higher education to achieve its goals in the midst of the MBKM policy, facing the Covid Pandemic; preparing Indonesia’s Vision 2045, as well as UNESCO’s invitation to “Futures of Education 2050”. Isn’t it, twenty or thirty years is a relatively short period of bequeathing something useful for future generations that is rightfully theirs.

  Trying to trace the thoughts of the founding fathers of the nation that penetrated the times and preceded the notions of progressive development that placed humans as sublime subjects. As described by Prof. Sri Edi Swasono (, 2005) that “educating the nation’s life” is a cultural conception, where the intellectual life of the nation is not just the ability of the brain. The politics of the founding fathers of the nation rejected the attitude and behavior of inlander, namely the attitude of living as the colonized, immersed in self-esteem, full of unfreedom or self-shackles. In fact, an intelligent life requires awareness of self-esteem, dignity, independence, resistance to testing, smart and honest, creative, productive and emancipatory abilities.

  In the context of educating the nation’s life, higher education institutions have a very strategic role as centers of education, research and community service to develop the potential of students – the children of the nation – as individual, social, moral, religious, nationalistic beings. strong, independent from the attitude of being colonized, and having reliable competence. The Mendikbudristek concept is to produce graduates with the profile: critical reasoning, independent, creative, mutual cooperation, global diversity, and noble character. The level of higher education carried by universities (PT) is considered as the last terminal that delivers the nation’s children to become intelligent and character human resources, so that it is hoped that an intelligent nation will be born that is able to solve the problems of its nation’s development, and ultimately bring prosperity to the community.

  The basic thought of “educating the life of the nation” which was stated by the founders of the nation in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution, and strengthened in the article that every citizen has the right to education and the state has the obligation to fulfill the education of every citizen in order to realize the national goal, namely the intellectual life of the nation. As a goal, this idea is structured in various laws and regulations regarding education and higher education, including: Law Number 20 of 2003 concerning the National Education System, National Education Standards (SNP), Law Number 12 of 2012, and so on. However, along the way, the framework of the laws and regulations still shackles efforts to educate the nation’s life. There are still many obstacles to achieve the intellectual life of the nation.

  An analysis by Rosser (2018) – Lowy Institute – Australia states that: “The biggest challenge for Indonesian education is no longer to increase access but to “improve quality”. The government hopes to develop a ‘world class’ education system by 2025. However, many assessments indicate that education performance still has a long way to go to achieve this goal. Many Teachers and Lecturers do not have the required subject knowledge and pedagogical skills to be effective educators; learning outcomes for poor students; and there is a difference between the skills of graduates and the needs of employers. The reasons behind the problem of poor educational performance are not only the problem of low public spending on education, human resource deficits, incentives that are detrimental to structure, and poor management. The root of the problem is politics and power.

  The government proclaimed the “Vision of Indonesia 2045” as one of the answers to “educate the nation’s life”, which carries 4 (four) pillars, namely: (1) Human Development and Mastery of Science and Technology, (2) Sustainable Economic Development, (3) Equity Development, and (4) Consolidating National Resilience and Governance. The transformation efforts carried out by the Government can be answered by the world of higher education. Maybe time will give a clear answer, even if it is supported by positive thinking.

Another challenge, UNESCO launched its “Education Vision 2050” (“Futures of Education 2050”) to coincide with International Education Day, January 24, 2022, which emphasized the importance of rethinking education. UNESCO’s call, how education is transformed to overcome various global challenges that can unite us in joint efforts, and generate knowledge and innovation for a sustainable future, and shared prosperity.

  The five suggestions for educational transformation are: 1) Pedagogy that adheres to the principles of cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity; 2) A curriculum that focuses on ecological, intercultural, and interdisciplinary learning; 3) More professional teachers as key figures in educational and social transformation; 4) Schools that need to be developed as educational vehicles that support inclusion, equality, and individual and community welfare; 5) Lifelong educational opportunities, as wide and deep as different cultural and social spaces.

  Do we see these problems and challenges as opportunities for transformation to achieve the vision of educating the nation’s life? It all comes down to what Rosser (2018) analyzes, the root of the problem is politics and power.

  Hopefully our spirit and positive thinking will be the driving force, and in this development range will produce a breakthrough that is able to provide space for anyone to organize and manage education in accordance with the capacity and available resources as well as possible, so as to be able to develop superior human resources, educate the nation’s life, and the well-being of individuals and society. Wallahualam.

  Vivat Widyatama, Vivat Civitas Academica, Vivat Indonesia and beloved archipelago. (@lee)


Editor – Lili Irahali