Towards Indonesia's Excellent Human Resources


This article is based on the recent situation in Indonesia during the beginning of cabinet Indonesia Maju for 2019-2024. After the inauguration of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma’aruf Amin, the government declared its motto that is Sumber Daya Manusia (SDM) Unggul untuk Indonesia Maju (Approximately translated as Excellent Human Resources for Indonesia’s Advance).

This vision truly will require great effort to be conducted. There will be a need of government’s engagements and a need of society’s involvements. Besides, these two entities to become more impactful, they will need a hand from educational institutions such as school and universities. These three collaborations, also called as triple helix collaboration, is believed to give an innovation in developing certain thing, excellent human resources for example.

Indonesia’s greatness of its archipelagic conditions and its sea power had already studied and known in many manuscripts. And regarding recent atmosphere in which that situations become closer to be in relation each other somehow, the sea power will meet the excellent human resources directly.

This study aimed to pinpoint today discourse of excellent human resources and of Indonesia’s maritime courses for the next five years. In the next session of this policy brief will describe the existing discourse of excellent human resources and its relation to maritime sector of Indonesia. Also, this will map the challenges and actions that might be required to be implemented.

Discourse of Indonesia’s Maritime Sector

During the crowds in social media, Twitter, President Joko Widodo welcoming The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte on 7 October 2019. The purpose of this visit was to reaffirm the strong bilateral relation between Indonesia and the Netherlands. And, one of the focused issues is building vocational education, including the fields of public works, maritime and nursing.

In terms of vocational education in the field of maritime, it brings us back to 2014 memories while President Jokowi announced that Indonesia will become the world's maritime axis. Back then, maritime issue became a very hot issue and it was delighted to be discussed since it sounded like a very fresh new idea for Indonesia. This relative new idea, said Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of 2014-2019, will become a breakthrough towards 70 years doctrine of agricultural mindset.

However, maritime issues today were sensed differently than before. Toward presidential inauguration on October 20th, 2019, maritime issue, especially in relation to vocational education seemed less discussed in social media Twitter. Frankly speaking, where will the maritime courses be directed?

To monitor that course, social media are believed to be able to spread issues and then be able to make them nationally discussed by its users. Twitter offers some features which allow users to know and to monitor issues that currently happening. They are Trending Topics and hashtag (#) features.

In collaboration with Drone Emprit Academic (DEA) to discover tweets regarding 'maritim' keywords and hashtag '#porosmaritimdunia' (world maritime axis) in Bahasa Indonesia on October 7th, 2019 to October 14th, 2019, it was collected about 1.840s tweets discussing maritime issues. Overall, there were two main topics which mostly appear in Twitter. First was about Susi Pudjiastuti who rejected reclamation over Teluk Benoa to determine it as Marine Protected Area. Second was about the Governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, who revealed that the rejection of Teluk Benoa reclamation was the result of voice of Balinese society.

Unfortunately, during this period there were no tweets telling about vocational education in maritime fields as discussed by President Jokowi and The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte.

Discourse of Excellent Human Resources

By the help of Drone Emprit Academic, it could be revealed that during October 7th-14th, 2019 there are five most active province in spreading issues related to maritime. They are DKI Jakarta, East Java, Central Java, DI Yogyakarta, and Bali. It was not surprising that Jakarta and Bali appeared the most in this period of time since the current issues at that time are regarding to Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and regarding to Teluk Benoa in Bali. Meanwhile, there are two only influencers in Eastern Part of Indonesia, namely KBRI (Indonesian Embassy) Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and user named 'black' in Papua Barat (West Papua).

Who were missing during this discourse? Local government agencies, especially those related to maritime sectors in this case are required to become more sensitive and more responsive in order to disseminate maritime mindsets.

Cecile H. Sam, Assisstant Professor at Rowan University, in 2019 published a research about discourse shaping through social media. It was found that in every discourse will include archaeological and genealogical aspects. Meaning that one certain discourse must consist of historical backgrounds and consist of its related actors.

Therefore, Indonesia's maritime discourse today could be seen as the actualization of Deklarasi Djuanda in 1957 by the first president of Indonesia, President Soekarno and Konvensi Maritim Nasional in 1963. Taking note to Konvensi Maritim Nasional, Presiden Soekarno once encouraged by stating that a nation can be very powerful once it can control the ocean and to do it a nation need sufficient fleets.

And now, one of these fleets might be best directed to a sufficient human resource after the preliminary focused sectors. Such as marine and fisheries, diminishing illegal fishing, commencing Tol Laut, maintaining marine boundaries, and developing marine tourism. And this human resource sector become the significant issue today. 

In 2018, Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik) noted that Indonesia consist of 42% provinces which are 73% till 97% of their areas are water. Also, Statistics Indonesia in 2018 wrote that those provinces may have many islands within, such as Papua Barat (3239 islands), Kepulauan Riau (1788 islands), Sulawesi Tengah (1137 islands), Maluku (987 islands), Maluku Utara (803 islands), Papua (552 islands), dan Sulawesi Tenggara (527 islands). These data showed us that there are provinces in Indonesia which require more concern in terms of maritime connectivity.

On the other hand, two years later, In December 2019, the discourses of excellent human resource appeared in social media Twitter are dominated by people talking about ‘nadiem’ which stands for Minister of Education Nadiem Makarim, ‘jokowi’ which stands for President Joko Widodo, and ‘merdekabelajar’ which is once stated by the Minister of Education Nadiem Makarim to encourage student to free to learn everything during class and outside the class and free to learn from any source.

The fact that this statement of free to learn from any means of educational sources become todays discourse could be seen as people’s need to develop their interest and their expertise which might different with each other. However, the appearance of millennial generation in the recent cabinet, Nadiem Makarim, seems like a new gate way to break through the old traditions of studying and old habits of learning. 


There was saying on Wooden Sailing Vessel, Pinisi, in 17th century stated Kualleangi Tallanga Natowalia. Meaning that once sailing, no more looking back to the land. It was similar to Itinerario notes written by Jan Huygen van Lincschoten in 16th century saying that day and night he always thinking about the sea and there is no other important thing for youngster except travelling the sea and looking the world. These willing appear through President Jokowi's discourse in emerging maritime sector through building excellent human resources by creating vocational education in maritime fields. However, as this writing to suggest, it might be appropriate to take more concern to those provinces which are mostly covered by water. So that, this may become the next course of Indonesia's maritime. Also, referring to people’s reactions in social media, it is depicted that the discourse of excellent human resources clearly influenced by those two, they are President Joko Widodo and Minister of Education Nadiem Makarim. These actors showed the succeed of agenda setting to create educational innovation in Indonesia.

Beside his contribution to transportation in Indonesia, Nadiem Makariem is also become the representation of millennial generation in Indonesia. The millennials now are facing the working are and some are facing school periods. As a complement, this strategy could be better to be accompanied by the clear mission of what kind of excellent human resources to be built recently. This mission could be in form of decrees or in a form of blueprint. Therefore, by combining people’s enthusiasms and their comprehension of the blueprint, the appropriate steps to create excellent human resources will be easier to be conducted.


During the beginning of cabinet Indonesia Maju months ago, there are many movements occurred in the structure and in the maneuver of the government. One of the most interesting parts of the movements is the involvement of millennials inside the cabinet. This consideration of engaging millennials is creating a brand-new atmosphere in Indonesia’s government situation, especially in education sector leading by Nadiem Makarim. Beside his successful in digital transportation service, the myths of millennials ‘can-do’ character seems become real and represented by Minister of Education Nadiem Makarim. This moment then might be better to be used for drafting the blueprint of excellent human resources since many people now show their enthusiasm with that maneuver of excellent education approach.