Jakarta, Indonesia, 1 April 2016 – A few years ago, lecturer Novistiar Rustandi wondered how he could help more Indonesians earn university degrees so that they can get better jobs.
He knew that a degree is now compulsory to get a decent job. But many of those who want to get a university degree don’t have the time or access to attend classes.
With a few colleagues, Novistiar developed an e-learning platform to help solve this problem. They established a digital startup, offering services for universities to develop online courses.
“Lecturers can now teach from their homes and students have the flexibility to study at their own pace,” explained Novistiar.
In recent years, more startups have sprung in Indonesia seeking new opportunities in the digital economy - the issue highlighted by the World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report, titled Digital Dividends.
“Digital technology is a new platform of resources,” said Philips Vermonte, Executive Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where the Jakarta launch of the report was held. “Indonesia should really start to think of how to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Digital technology has grown rapidly but many have not fully benefited from these developments. Four billion people globally still lack internet access. Yet the potential is enormous, since the internet is more evenly spread than income.
According to the report, in order to reap the digital dividends, internet access must be made universal, affordable, open, and secure. Otherwise the dividends will be enjoyed only by a few.
“At the moment, digital technology in Indonesia mostly benefits the middle class who have internet access and companies who provide services that are accessible online,” said Nadiem Makarim, CEO of Gojek Indonesia, an app-based motorcycle taxi service which delivers goods and offers rides to commuters. “For the digital economy to be more inclusive, the government should help make internet access available for more people.”