Coding Indonesia: the programming pioneers

A Saturday morning in South Jakarta (Kemang), a group of 15 children aged 9 -12 years are working on an assignment in Scratch. It’s a class of the pioneers in programming/coding at school in Indonesia.

Coding tutor that morning is Hauliza Riudhayanti (25), student of Gunadharma University in South Jakarta.
The driving force behind Coding Indonesia is Kurie Suditomo, an enthusiastic petite young woman and mother of two sons. Kurie does not come from education and indicates that she knows a little about programming, but she moreover sees the importance of coding for her children and for the development of Indonesia.
The current ICT education in Indonesia implies little more than working with Microsoft Office products such as Excel, Word, etc. that seems far too limited Kurie says. More needs to be done. Indonesia has 240 million inhabitants, of which more than half are younger than 30 years. Joko Widodo, the new President of Indonesia has taken education as a priority of his administration. In addition to anti-corruption (euphemistically referred to as transparency) and healthcare.
Kurie was after her studies in the US with a Fulbright scholarship for many years a journalist at the well known independent weekly magazine Tempo (banned during the Suharto regime).

Hauliza Riudhayanti

MaKeDonia: Makers ed in Indonesia

In addition to coding there is also a maker movement  emerging. After I attended the morning workshop, I talked with Kuri about Scratch and it’s pedagogical roots in the work of people like Seymour Papert and the developer of Scratch Mitchel Resnick. One of the reasons for my visit was the successful Scratch-conference last summer in Amsterdam see . Through my regular family visits to the stunning archipelago (twice this year) I feel more and more involved in Indonesia in general and education in particular.
Education and ICT are the key’s to the further development of this magnificent, beautiful country. There is so much more than Bali. At the request of Kurie I gave a lecture about the pedagogy of coding a few days later for a group of young teachers and computer science students. Also Iboy Imanzah, founder of MakeDonia, the maker education movement in Indonesia was present.

We talked about programming and the philosophy behind Scratch, and about Vygotsky, Piaget, Seymour Papert and Resnick. Education is problematic in Indonesia especially in the remote area’s. There is a serieus shortage of qualified teachers and many teachers often choose for teaching at a private school. You can hardly blame them. The salaries in state schools are very low and they have crowded classes. Iboy Imanzah introduced during my workshop, the term educational philanthropy when he spoke of the Indonesian teachers. Iboy  participates in the Indian Design for Peace initiative of Kiran Bir Sethi,  she was one of the nominees for the global teacher award. Many teachers who give Coding Indonesia workshops give them to the children of the growing middle class and do that in addition to their regular job
It’s hard to find good programmers in Indonesia, says Remko Weingarten, a successful IT entrepreneur in Jakarta and ever founder of Taxi Direct.  He was recently on Dutch television. Remko got his programmers mainly from India and Vietnam. The professional coding courses in Indonesia are expensive and the Indian education model is not working. In this model, leading ICT companies train talented students within the company. Theye get during the training e.g. a three-year course also a salary, but they are committed (by contract) to work for several years for the company. Leaving earlier means breaking your contract which means that you have to pay a penalty fee. In Indonesia this doesn’t work because of in case of a early departure there is no one who enforces the rules of the contract.
I am sure that the flame spreads rapidly from Coding Indonesia especially now that the Indonesian government has made (following e.g. Vietnam) scholarships available for good students. Kurie would like to see some of her teacher/studenten/tutors  studying in Holland. Suggestions are welcome.

Kurie Suditomo  Kurie Suditomo



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