The Role of Youth in Building the ASEAN community 2015
Mahreta Adi Kuncoro
The establishment of the ASEAN Community aims to improve the welfare of all members of ASEAN through economic cooperation and intra-trade as well as among ASEAN members in order to deal with the competition on the economic scope of regional and global. Thus, ASEAN has a strong commitment to realize the mutual objectives through the high competitiveness of each in the context of holistic synergy. If this can be realized, the strategic role of ASEAN free market will have a broad cooperation to make the regional economy more robust and mutually beneficial.
There are three major pillars which lead to the ASEAN Community establishment. There are ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), ASEAN Security Community (ASC) and ASEAN Socio Cultural Community (ASCC). These three major pillars directly affect the education sector, meaning that Indonesian student can freely study in the ASEAN countries and vice versa. Therefore, the youth plays a significant role in developing the education quality in dealing with the ASEAN community 2015 which full of competitiveness.
The Youth and the Importance of Education
In dealing with the ASEAN community in 2015, the role of youth is absolutely needed to develop every aspect of the nation. It’s inevitable that the human resource is something crucial. And the most important thing is on how to prepare the youth for the better of tomorrow and on how to improve the human resources.
The role of youth and education are two factors that can not be separated from one another. Improving the quality of education is the best way to enhance the quality of human resources of Indonesia, it is highly expected that with the increasing of nation's human resources, it will brings about to the maturity of Indonesian people in facing the economic competition as well as the education sector.
Based on the global competitiveness report of The World Economic Forum (WEF) 31 October 2007, the competitiveness ranking of Indonesia to The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is going down comparing with 2006. From 131 countries, Indonesian Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is on the 54th rank. It is describing the overall of 12 pillars assessed by WEF. For the basic requirement in the sub index of A, Indonesia is on the 82nd rank with the lowest level of infrastructure in the 91st rank, the macro economic stability in the 89th rank, the health and the basic education in the 78th rank. As for the efficiency enhancer in the sub index of B, the Indonesian technology readiness is in the 75th. Although there are pillars that are on the low ranking, but there is also a pillar in the top – twenty of efficiency enhancers in the sub index of B. It is the market scale which is in the 15th rank. It means that Indonesian market opportunity is potentially big but still can not be used effectively.
Therefore, with the various problems and the Indonesian people shortcomings, the increasing of human resources is absolutely necessary in dealing with the ASEAN community which full of competition in a variety of things; economic, cultural, technology, and also education, due to a human role as a major actor in the whole wheel of a nation. Because based on UNESCO data (2000) on the Human Development Index which is involving the rank of education, health, and income per head shows that the human development index decreased progressively in Indonesia. Among the 174 countries in the world, Indonesia is in the 102nd rank (1996), 99th rank (1997), 105th rank (1998), 109th rank (1999).
The improving of human resources quality can be achieved through the enhancing of educational sector. In order to improve the education quality there are two integrated factors; the role of youth as the main actor and also the government that functions as a facilitator to support educational infrastructure and media needed for the achievement of education quality.
Basically, besides the function of youth as the agent of change, the government role is absolutely required to improve the quality of human resources in welcoming the ASEAN community 2015. The government has to plan 2 programs and undertake it as well as possible. First is the improving of socialization on the importance of Indonesian readiness to the youth in dealing with the ASEAN community 2015. It can be perpetuated by the intensive socialization throughout the educational institutions. The second is improving the educational infrastructure and planning on the IT – based education. It can be achieved by allocating more national budget to the education sector.
The Socialization of youth through the educational institutions in Indonesia on the readiness of the ASEAN community 2015 is needed. It’s completely expected by the intensive socialization of the government, it will stimulate the youth or students to learn more and improve their English skill. Because the English-speaking ability as the international language is required by every single of students in order to compete and play an active role in a regional scope as well as international. So that by the increasing of education quality, they will be ready to welcome their futures and they will be the driving wheel of a nation with a high quality and dedication to the State.
Building up the human resources through education in early years is needed because the declining of students achievement in the world view. In the case of achievements, September 2004 the United Nations for Development Program (UNDP) has announced the results of studies on the quality of people simultaneously around the world through the report, entitled Human Development Report 2004. In the annual report Indonesia only on the 111th position from 177 countries. If it is compared with neighboring countries only, the position of Indonesia is far below it. In the international scale, IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) in East Asia showed that the reading skills of elementary students for the fourth grade are on the lowest rank. The average reading test scores for elementary school students: 75.5 (Hong Kong), 74.0 (Singapore), 65.1 (Thailand), 52.6 (Philippines), and 51.7 (Indonesia)
The provision of infrastructures by the government to students through educational institutions is truly important. the provision of infrastructure by the government such as the developing of language laboratories, constructing of schools buildings that are not eligible to use, the provision of free school and creating schools with the international standard are expected to support the students academic activities. Besides that the government should improve the quality of teachers as the main student instructors and increase their welfare.
In welcoming the ASEAN community 2015, we do believe that the youth has a significant role. But we have to analyze deeply to the root of the problem and it is the human resources. The human resources development can be achieved by improving the education sector. The education has the great influence to the youth. It is functioning as the former of the character and the framework of thinking. Therefore the Indonesian government should prepare the present youth for the better of tomorrow by improving the education quality.