YOGYAKARTA – The British Government has earmarked up to US$15m in funds for the development of research and technology in Indonesian higher learning. This emerged in the visit made by British Ambassador to Indonesia, Mark Canning, to UGM on Thursday (6/3).
Vice Rector for Cooperation and Alumni UGM, Prof. Ir. Dwikorita Karnawati, M.Sc., Ph.D., said the meeting with the Ambassador discussed two important issues, which are a cooperation in education and research. The education cooperation includes the establishment of joint double degree between UGM and Birmingham and Leed University. Meanwhile, a consortium on environment is established between Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences UGM with Essex University.
Rita said in terms of research, the British Government will disburse funds worth US$15m, involving 15 Indonesian universities, including UGM, UI and ITB, and three British universities, including Nottingham University. “The priority research is on energy and food security,” she said.
In the general lecture entitled UK and Southeast Asia he gave to hundreds of students, Mark Canning said the Indonesian Government needed to carefully issue a policy ahead of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015. The reason was that Indonesian companies are struggling to compete with their foreign counterparts. “Indonesia develops the market for domestic use, so they find it hard to compete with foreign companies,” he said.
Ahead of the ASEAN Economic Community, he suggested the Indonesian Government to re-consider the single currency policy. “Our experience in the European Union turned out very complex and that it took a long time to resolve. Indonesia needs to re-consider if the single currency is to be implemented,” he said.
In particular, he praised the Indonesian democracy and economic growth that have progressed significantly, however, forest destruction rate and corruption still pose an unfinished homework. “Indonesia has not been free from terrorism, either,” he added.
The above 5% economic growth also needs to be maintained in order to create a condusive security condition that will help increase prosperity. Therefore, Mark said, economic development and democracy have to go hand in hand.