by John M. Munro and Christopher J. Dagg
Canadian universities have a lengthy history of working with
universities and government agencies in Indonesia's eastern islands
on projects to strengthen the capacity of these organizations
to participate in local and national development efforts. Since
1988 Simon Fraser University, a provincial university with 18,000
students located in Vancouver, has been working with four universities
in eastern Indonesia to strengthen basic science teaching and
research through the 10-year Eastern Indonesia Universities Development
Project (EIUDP), jointly funded by the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) and the Government of Indonesia.
For the last five years the Project has included a specific component
focussed on sustainable development. The purpose of the Education
for Sustainable Development (ESD) component of the Project is
to introduce sustainable development ideas and approaches into
teaching and research at the Member Universities through their
basic science courses.
Indonesia's Environmental Situation
This ESD component is easily understood in the context of Indonesia's
environment and its vulnerability to damage caused by badly planned
or executed development activities. The World Wildlife Fund has
estimated the cost of last year's immense regional damage from
forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra at US $1.4 billion. While
this disaster comes first to mind, there are many other examples
which demonstrate that the fundamental objectives and principles
of sustainability have been neglected and which justify including
education for sustainable development within a university assistance
In its recent report "Indonesia: Environment and Development,"
the World Bank noted that "... institutional shortcomings
are the most serious impediment to sound environmental management,"
suggesting a role for institutions which have credibility and
expertise and are ready to train local experts to deal with these
shortcomings. The Eastern Indonesia Universities Development Project
has tried to respond to this concern through its work with universities
in Eastern Indonesia.
Indonesian University System
Indonesia's university system was developed after Independence
in 1945. The system comprises 77 state institutions with an enrollment
of over 550,000, and close to 1,300 private institutions of varying
quality with enrollments totalling 1,500,000. Overall management
of the system is the responsibility of the Directorate General
of Higher Education within the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The system is expected to grow in size and improve in quality:
national long-term development education plans focus on improving
relevance, efficiency, and quality. A tripling of enrollments
and a concomitant increase in teaching staff with higher qualifications
over the next twenty years is foreseen, with highest priority
given to science and technology. Greater emphasis is being given
to quality -- a National Accreditation Board is spearheading an
evaluation of all university programs and funding will be awarded
in the future on a more competitive basis. A greater focus on
regional needs and accelerated development of off-Java institutions
mark an effort to assure greater equity in the education system.
Universities are expected to perform a three-fold role (the tridharma):
teaching, research, and community service. Teaching staff promotion
systems still give most weight to teaching and management activities,
but recent revisions give increased weight to research. All state
universities and the better private institutions have established
Environmental Study Centres to coordinate university participation
in local environmental impact assessment and environmental study
and research programs.
Eastern Indonesia Universities Development Project
The Eastern Indonesia Universities Development Project has been
funded by C $52 million in CIDA grants and by Indonesian funds.
EIUDP operates in four eastern Indonesian universities. The Member
Universities are Universitas Sam Ratulangi in Manado (North Sulawesi),
Universitas Pattimura in Ambon (Maluku), Universitas Halu Oleo
in Kendari (Southeast Sulawesi), and Universitas Cenderawasih
in Jayapura and Manokwari (Irian Jaya).
The Project has two basic purposes:
- To strengthen teaching programs, primarily in the basic sciences
that support the applied sciences' role in regional development;
- To promote the establishment of long-term linkages between
Indonesian and Canadian institutions.
Instruction in the Member Universities is in Indonesian but access
to international science requires facility in English. Thus, the
establishment of English Language Training Centres has been an
important part of the Project. The Project also aids applied anthropology
programs at the university in Irian Jaya to improve its capability
to deal with the impact of development on indigenous peoples.
Women in Science and Technology and Education for Sustainable
Development strategies are woven into all aspects of Project activity.
In implementing the Project, Simon Fraser has worked in close
cooperation with five of Indonesia's senior universities, which
have provided many of the Project's services. Other Canadian universities
have also participated.
To upgrade teaching staff at the Member Universities, the Project
has provided over 180 post-graduate fellowships for study in Canada,
in the ASEAN region, or at senior Indonesian universities. The
fellowship program, which included very comprehensive pre-departure
preparation and extensive support during the period of study abroad,
has been highly successful in terms of degree completion and return
to home campus. Over 100 Indonesians have received scholarships
leading towards Bachelor of Science degrees. Short term training
activities have benefitted an estimated 4,000 Indonesian participants
(teaching staff, library and lab personnel, and university leaders).
Over 800 person-months of Canadian professional services have
been deployed for training and for technical assistance assignments
in curriculum design and laboratory development. English Language
Training Centres have been established on each campus where the
Project is active to provide English language training to university
faculty, to give them access to the world's literature in science,
to study abroad, and to international peer networks. Computing
laboratories have been established at each university campus and
library facilities and systems have been upgraded.
To encourage research, over 100 "starter" research
grants have been awarded to Indonesian faculty members; most have
been used to research local development issues. In addition, larger
grants were awarded under a cooperative arrangement with the International
Development Research Centre. A special initiative is currently
underway to develop collaborative networks in biodiversity research
with access to international research funding.
The four Member Universities have developed institutionally to
the point where they are being considered as the sites for new
faculties of science. As the Project nears its end, increased
attention is being given to the development of continuing linkages
involving Indonesian universities and institutions from across
Canada. These linkages will involve arrangements such as collaborative
research, cooperative education programs, university bilateral
cooperation agreements, training programs for NGOs, and networks
for on-going technology transfer in areas related to science,
technology, and environment.
Education for Sustainable Development
In the words of the Brundtland report, "sustainable development
is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Sustainable development should be inclusive, involving environmental,
social, cultural, economic, and political systems. The concept
of education for sustainable development includes consideration
of development values and assumptions, as well as the assessment
of development impacts. It introduces interdisciplinary and cross-cultural
approaches to environmental, social, and economic impact analysis
and community economic development.
The inclusion of ESD as a component connected to all Project
activities was based on the recognition that the upgrading of
basic science teaching and research capabilities in universities
in this region of Indonesia offered an exceptional opportunity
to improve the sustainability of development initiatives expected
to flow from meeting the Project's objectives.
In working towards concrete action to incorporate sustainable
development concepts in the work of EIUDP, Project staff recognized
that there was already some measure of awareness about sustainability
issues at the Member Universities and some sustainable development
activities already underway. However, the many priorities facing
administrators at these young universities have prevented full
development of educational components to support comprehensive
regional sustainability programs.
The Project accepted the following eight principles of sustainable
development to guide its activities:
- All sustainable development initiatives should support harmonious
life and social equity.
- Renewable resources should be managed on a sustained yield
- Income generated by depletion of non-renewable resources should
be accompanied by investment in renewable resources with at
least an equivalent income stream.
- The assimilative capacity of ecosystems should not be exceeded
in space or time.
- In organizing resource extraction activity, management decisions
should not compromise overall productivity, ecosystem functions,
and income generation.
- Natural resources should be used efficiently and the principles
of good stewardship, conservation, and income generation are
- Sustainable development includes all levels from individuals
to micro- and macro-levels of organizations, institutions, and
societies and all should operate with an sustainable development
vision and ethics.
- Sustainable development for the Eastern Islands will need
to be based on local environmental. economic, and socio-cultural
characteristics with special recognition of traditional knowledge
and resource management systems.
The ESD plan, as originally envisaged, had four phases:
- A series of workshops to introduce sustainable development
and the role of the universities at each of the five campuses.
- Focused activity to develop curriculum materials to insert
sustainable development concepts and examples into courses in
the basic and applied science curricula.
- Promotion of liaison with government agencies and NGOs with
roles in promoting sustainable development in the region.
- Facilitating research on topics of importance in sustainable
development (e.g., biodiversity).
Each campus has appointed a Sustainable Development Coordinator
to promote the development of ESD and organize activities in support
of its objectives. Also, two Project-level Coordinators, one Canadian
and one Indonesian, were appointed to act in an advisory capacity
to EIUDP management teams in Canada and Indonesia, to provide
technical information and advice, to liaise with Indonesian environmental
organizations, and to be involved actively as advisors and mentors
to the ESD groups and others at each member University campus.
The most important initiative in the ESD component is the development
of curriculum materials for basic science courses. Project staff
believe that introducing modules, examples, and illustrations
based on sustainable development concepts into basic science courses
will make Member University faculty aware of the importance of
these matters, provide interesting and effective teaching tools,
and bring the concepts and approaches of sustainable development
to the attention of students early in their university careers.
The design of the curriculum initiative was worked out beginning
in 1996 in a series of planning meetings and workshops involving
representatives of the Member Universities and Indonesian and
Canadian experts. The Indonesian ESD Co?ordinator, Dr. Mohamed
Soerjani, of Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta, supervised the
work of teams of faculty at each Member University which prepared
draft lecture material using the abundant examples of sustainability
available from Indonesia. The process was reviewed at the individual
university level at further workshops and testing of the materials
in classroom use began in January, 1998.
Simon Fraser University's role in the Eastern Indonesia Universities
Development Project will diminish between now and 2000, when the
Project will formally end. We have every reason to expect that
the values and approaches inherent in Education for Sustainable
Development will by then be an integral part of course material
at the Member Universities. While this will be only one of the
ways in which the EIUDP leaves a sustainable legacy at these institutions,
we hope it will be one of the most important.
John M. Munro is Canadian ESD Coordinator, EIUDP and Christopher
J. Dagg is Project Director, EIUDP, both at Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, BC, Canada. Dr. Munro can be reached at EIUDP, Simon
Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6; Tel: 604-291-3934;
email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Dagg can be reached at the same address;
Tel: 604-291-3949; email: email@example.com
RETURN TO TOP