Manado, INDONESIA – Students at Sam Ratulangi University in Manado, North Sulawesi, some two thousand kilometers away from Indonesia's capital Jakarta, knew little about the World Bank, much less its Open Data initiative. A recent seminar about the Bank’s Open Data initiative at the campus site helped students and faculty members become aware of the wealth of information readily available for them – information that is free and easy to use.
Student Aldo Wirhanoyo likes the program for making access to data more ‘democratic’. “I very much agree with this initiative, particularly for university students who really need data for essays and analysis,” says Wirhanoyo.
According to Feky Masinambow, a lecturer at the School of Economics, previously students and faculty relied heavily on printed materials for data. Now he plans to reorient his lesson plans around the website. “I plan to assign my students to look for data from the World Bank, and put together analysis based on the data they find,” he said.
Robert Winerungan, a lecturer from the Manado State University, says he has used data from other sources for his work, but that Open Data has added value. “What I like about the Bank’s Open Data website is that it allows people to compare data with other countries, so that people can learn how Indonesia’s economy has fared better than other countries,” he says.
Both students and lecturers agree that the initiative opens new avenues for research methods – for the better.
“My only input is that it should also be available in the Indonesian language, so that those with poor English competency can understand the data clearly,” he added.
Statistics and data are vital to academic research. A reason why similar seminars to introduce the World Bank’s Open Data held in other universities across the country have always garnered great interest.