eLearning to be promoted with aid of Private parties

The government should push the private sector to help schools with limited financial resources to install supporting technology for e-learning, an expert says. Heru Suhartanto, a professor of computer science from the University of Indonesia, said while the government and some academic institutions had successfully developed the backbones for e-learning programs (such as content, software and network systems), they needed to make sure all schools could adopt and operate their programs. Heru also emphasized the importance of maintenance. According to data from the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association (APJII), in 2007, Indonesia had 25 million Internet users, 25% more than the year before. Last year, the Association of Indonesian Internet Cafes Indonesia (Awari) also recorded a significant increase in the number of outlets, from 10,000 to 12,000. Since the number of Internet users has increased rapidly in recent years, the government has been making efforts to develop Internet-based learning facilities to improve education and tackle the 'knowledge disparity' between students and teachers in developed areas and those in remote ones. Institutions or individuals interested in developing distance-learning programs, for example, could use the National Education Network, which facilitates them to send and receive study material. However, it has been difficult for schools with limited financial resources and no Internet-literate staff to take advantage of the facilities. Even those that already have proper facilities have not found it easy to carry out e-learning programs. Hasan Bisri, an ICT teacher in SMA 37 state high school in Tebet, South Jakarta, said although the school already had a computer laboratory with a reliable Internet connection, it was only used for teaching at this stage. According data from the National Education Ministry, Indonesia currently has around 180,000 elementary schools, 30,000 junior high schools and 20,000 high schools.

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