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Good news : online learning will improve education in Papua

Andra Wisnu, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Online learning and information sharing will reach more students across the country after the Ministry of Education on Wednesday relaunched an Internet education program.

The World Bank-funded Indonesia Global Development Learning Network (GDLN), an Internet backbone network connecting major universities all over the world, will allow researchers and professors in countries such as China, Australia and Japan to share research and other information with Indonesian lecturers, while local university students will be able to join overseas classes through video conferences.

“Access to education will become much broader and more affordable with GDLN, with lecture materials, for instance, now available online,” National Education Minister Bambang Sudibyo said at the relaunch in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

“And in time, I am certain GDLN will become much stronger. It will support education not just at universities, but at other levels of education in every part of this country.”

Fasli Jalal, the ministry’s director general for higher education, said information on new education policies could be disseminated easier using GDLN.

“We don’t have to keep calling university officials to inform them about scholarships, research or the like,” Fasli said.

The ministry has been trying to develop an Internet network to support long-distance learning in underdeveloped areas since 2006. To date, only five state universities are connected to the ministry-funded Indonesia Higher Education Network (INHERENT) Internet backbone project.

Last December, the ministry linked INHERENT to GDLN, which connects major universities and learning institutions in 80 countries.

Wednesday’s relaunch means Indonesia GDLN now connects 82 state universities, 140 private universities, 12 coordinating regional agencies for private universities and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Open Learning Center.

“We believe the GDLN is an important tool in developing education in the country and we are committed to supporting its infrastructure,” said Peter Stephens, World Bank director of communications.

State universities connected through Indonesia GDLN include Syiah Kuala University in the Aceh capital Banda Aceh, Udayana University in Denpasar, Bali, Tadulako University in the Central Sulawesi capital Palu and the University of Papua in the West Papua capital Manokwari.

Foreign universities connected within GDLN include Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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