Si­nar Mas Land con­nects RI tal­ent pool with tech firms through Dig­i­tal Hub

The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Education Supplement -

The In­done­sian ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem has a lot of work to do to catch up with other coun­tries around the world.

Its vo­ca­tional train­ing in­sti­tu­tions are in a par­tic­u­larly bad state. Ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s Tech­nol­ogy, Re­search and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, Mo­hamad Nasir, stu­dents in vo­ca­tional higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in In­done­sia only con­sti­tute 5.6 per­cent of the to­tal num­ber of stu­dents in higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

This per­cent­age is a far cry com­pared to other coun­tries in the world. In Aus­tria, for in­stance, nearly 80 per­cent of stu­dents there take up vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing ( VET) upon grad­u­at­ing from school. Sim­i­lar num­bers can be seen even in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries like Sin­ga­pore and Tai­wan, with 50 to 70 per­cent of grad­u­ates there ready to im­me­di­ately take up a vo­ca­tional course.

The govern­ment has made strides to im­prove the na­tion’s VET sec­tor. In late Novem­ber 2016 alone, five min­istries joined forces to sign a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) on vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion re­form. The Re­search and Tech­nol­ogy and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry also plans to re­vi­tal­ize VET in a dozen uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try this year.

How­ever, the govern­ment can­not do it alone. It needs the help of all do­mes­tic stake­hold­ers to help im­prove ed­u­ca­tion in In­done­sia so that its grad­u­ates can com­pete glob­ally and meet the chal­lenges of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

In­done­sia’s lead­ing prop­erty de­vel­oper Si­nar Mas Land is do­ing just that with its on­go­ing up to Rp 7 tril­lion In­te­grated Smart Dig­i­tal City project in Bumi Ser­pong Da­mai (BSD), Ban­ten.


The goal of this 25.86-hectare city, which is set to be com­pleted within the next 10 to 15 years, is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that can fa­cil­i­tate the es­tab­lish­ment of lo­cal start-ups and pro­vide a home for young peo­ple and tech­nol­ogy lead­ers to de­velop th­ese busi­nesses. It essen­tially wants to be­come the In­done­sian ver­sion of Sil­i­con Val­ley.

“The role of Si­nar Mas Land is to cre­ate a city that can be the outer shell, the con­tainer and the provider of re­li­able in­fra­struc­ture that Mil­lenials can use to de­velop their ideas,” Si­nar Mas Land man­ag­ing di­rec­tor pres­i­dent of­fice Dhony Ra­ha­joe said.

As the city’s de­scrip­tion im­plies, it is an “In­te­grated Smart Dig­i­tal City” – the very first of its kind in the coun­try – that has de­signed its en­tire ecosys­tem to pro­mote the dig­i­tal econ­omy. It has in­vited lead­ers in IT and tech com­pa­nies to open of­fices there. Th­ese in­clude MyRepub­lic, Huawei, Orami Bilna, SaleS­tock, EV Hive Co-Work­ing Space, WGS Hub, Geeks­farm, Pur­wad­hika Star­tups & Cod­ing School, and Ap­ple In­no­va­tion Cen­ter.

The city has also re­leased an app for its res­i­dents, called One Smile, which is de­signed to help them with their daily needs in ser­vices such as trans­porta­tion and food. The city’s One Smart Con­nect sim­i­larly pro­vides lo­cals with high-speed Wi-Fi.

The city’s eco-friendly de­sign is fur­ther op­ti­mized to en­cour­age young en­trepreneurs to move there and let their cre­ativ­ity run wild. Those with­out any IT skills need not worry about not be­ing able to make any ideas hap­pen, as the city has two of the na­tion’s best spe­cial­ists in teach­ing vo­ca­tional IT skills, Pur­wad­hika Startup and Cod­ing School and Geeks­Farm In­done­sia, to pre­pare hu­man re­sources that can com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Both of th­ese course-based non-de­gree schools have just opened branches in Si­nar Mas Land’s dig­i­tal city in BSD.


At Pur­wad­hika, you don’t need any prior ex­pe­ri­ence in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy to en­roll. All you need is a strong de­sire to learn, good ideas and six months to get ready to open your first dig­i­tal start-up.

The school of­fers a six-month train­ing soft­ware pro­gram that prom­ises stu­dents with even zero IT ex­pe­ri­ence to be ready to make their dig­i­tal start-up by the end of the course. If a stu­dent’s start-up shows prom­ise, the school might even of­fer in­vest­ment of up to Rp 500 mil­lion.

Geeks­farm sim­i­larly trains its stu­dents with the skills nec­es­sary to meet the needs of mod­ern com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­larly IT com­pa­nies. Its start-up school pro­gram is geared to­ward busi­nesses that want to build a suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal arm, ac­quire new cus­tomers and de­fend their mar­kets from tech-savvy com­peti­tors.

It works to­gether with WGS, one of Ban­dung’s big­gest IT com­pa­nies. It has a train­ing syl­labus and uses the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in its cour­ses. Most of what it of­fers is not the kind of lessons stu­dents nor­mally re­ceive in typ­i­cal univer­sity classes. “Each par­tic­i­pant that has de­clared to have ful­filled grad­u­a­tion stan­dards will get a train­ing cer­tifi­cate,” said Mira Ok­ta­vianti, CEO of Geeks­farm. “The guar­an­tee for di­rect work is one of the unique ad­van­tages we of­fer com­pared to oth­ers.”

Th­ese two schools make up the in­for­mal ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes at Si­nar Mas Land’s Projects. Those look­ing for more for­mal out­lets can check out the city’s de­gree-based uni­ver­si­ties: In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity Li­aisons In­done­sia, Prasetiya Mulya Univer­sity and Unika Atma Jaya. Soon two other uni­ver­si­ties will join them in BSD City – one lo­cal univer­sity and one in­ter­na­tional univer­sity. It also in­cludes Ban­dung In­sti­tute of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (ITSB), a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ban­dung In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (ITB), Si­nar Mas and Si­nar Mas Land at Delta Mas Bekasi, which is sched­uled to be trans­formed into the Si­nar Mas In­sti­tute later this year.


The strong fo­cus on schools that can pro­vide stu­dents with IT train­ing is in­ten­tional on Si­nar Mas Land’s part. To cre­ate a dig­i­tal econ­omy, the city needs to foster the growth of lo­cal en­trepreneurs and work­ers who can con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s econ­omy.

Ac­cord­ing to Purwa Hartono, founder of Pur­wad­hika schools, the po­ten­tial of IT is lim­it­less. It is also much cheaper.

“With the rise of cloud com­put­ing and mo­bile tech­nolo­gies, all a start-ups need is soft­ware and a server to rent,” Hartono said. “Blue Bird re­quires more cap­i­tal and more ve­hi­cles each time it wants to ex­pand. Uber doesn’t need to buy cars. Yet Uber is still the world’s largest ride-shar­ing com­pany, thanks to its soft­ware.”

Hartono also noted that soft­ware en­gi­neers were the last peo­ple to be fired or let go when a com­pany needed to change. Sim­i­larly, Ok­ta­vianti cited a CNN In­done­sia re­port from 2016 that showed pro­gram­mers were the high­est sought po­si­tions in the IT field.

The world econ­omy is also be­gin­ning to evolve be­yond sim­ple cloud com­put­ing and soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing to the rise of an “In­ter­net of Things” kind of world, one where all the things around you will be con­nected to a net­work to make life bet­ter for ev­ery­one. In­done­sia needs hu­man re­sources ca­pa­ble of ad­just­ing and con­tribut­ing to this kind of world.

“We need big break­throughs to sup­port the dig­i­tal econ­omy by fa­cil­i­tat­ing ed­u­ca­tion to catch up with the rest of the world,” Ra­ha­joe said. “There has to be a break­through. Oth­er­wise, at the rate things are go­ing, it might take 200 years to get the na­tion’s 4,000 higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes up to par with other coun­tries for vo­ca­tional train­ing. That’s why we at Si­nar Mas and Si­nar Mas Land want to push for change.”

Cour­tesy of Pur­wad­hika schools

JP/Arief Suhardi­man

Cour­tesy of Geeks­farm

Cour­tesy of Geeks­farm

Mira Ok­ta­vianti

JP/Arief Suhardi­man

Purwa Hartono

JP/Arief Suhardi­man

Dhony Ra­ha­joe

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