Free the Data!

This article first appeared in Indonesia in Melbourne, a blog site for the University of Melbourne, 7 December 2015 +++   It was one of the quieter visits in what has been a steady stream of senior Indonesian officials to Australia this year to talk business, but Andang Bachtiar’s mission and message were revealing. In May, he was put in charge of a committee, under reformist Energy Minister Sudirman Said, which has the task of boosting Indonesian oil and gas exploration. And while he is grappling with a raft of complex issues that have dragged the industry down for a decade, he has also found it is being impeded by some of the simplest. This includes the way that crucial seismological data is made available so exploration companies can make smarter commercial decisions. “It is not open to the public, it is held tight and there is surprise on that,” Andang said in a private interview in Melbourne. Normally

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Indonesia’s Education Challenge

This first appeared on Australian Outlook, Australian Institute of International Affairs, October 2015 . Of all the many hurdles Indonesia faces in its efforts to develop, education is one core challenge which is vital to address. The new President, Joko Widodo, has pledged to “lift-up the people” and has a vision to equip them with the skills and services to improve their lives. One of the most fundamental requirements to achieve this goal will be to improve education levels; a task that is both enormous and urgent. Schoolchildren are lagging behind in a system that doesn’t serve them well, and reports have warned that even on the current trajectory those with an education are likely to be under-qualified to meet the needs of a growing economy. Meanwhile the tens of millions of factory workers reliant on low-skilled jobs are not being sufficiently trained for the next wave of manufacturing predicted for Indonesia. The Minister in charge of early education, Anies

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