Interview

Prof. Dr. Ali Ghufron Mukti, M.Sc, PhD

Rector of Trisakti University

Trisakti University is Indonesia's one of largest private university located in Jakarta, Indonesia. Founded on 29 November 1965, the university has more than 23,000 active students and has produced more than 100,000 alumni.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: How is Indonesia moving forward in the education field?

PROF. GHUFRON: The education field is seeing great opportunities, now that the government is focusing on human capital development. By focusing on human capital development, the government will have to prepare the universities and higher education institutions to produce qualified, integrated and competitive human resources which can fulfil the needs of the newest development, especially those related to Industry Revolution 4.0.

First, we need deregulation, less bureaucratization and more autonomy for universities to increase the capacity of students. Universities need to take action to improve on the teaching-learning process, adopt innovation and increase knowledge in new technologies. It is also important to intensify internship programs in the industry. University of Trisakti has implemented this and has had a strong relationship with industry before the “Kampus Merdeka” policy was launched.

In order to achieve higher ranking universities and also to contribute for building an innovation-based economy in Indonesia, education practitioners need to be more productive and university needs to focus on the quality of research, innovation and academic publications. In 2015, Indonesia was ranked Number 4 in the scientific publication index by Scopus. For the first time in history, we are ranking Number 1 in ASEAN for academic and scientific publications.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: What is the status of higher education enrolment in Indonesia?

PROF. GHUFRON: In terms of access and participation, the student participation rate of those who should be at the age of studying is currently 36%. The remaining percentage is the rate of students who are at the age of attending university but have not enrolled yet. We hope that, in 5 to 10 years, the student enrolment rate could increase to 50% for the whole of Indonesia.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: What is the role of private and public universities to improve Indonesia's higher education sector?

PROF. GHUFRON: Private universities play a big role, because these institutions have more flexibility and autonomy in terms of using resources and management. Comparatively, public universities are less flexible and more rigid.

Of course, student enrolment is very important for private universities. Without a healthy volume, the university will not survive. A private university needs to contribute to the capacity of instilling knowledge while being financially sustainable. Therefore, we need to increase the community’s trust on these private universities. The more mature the university is, an increasing proportion of university income will be derived from other sources versus student enrolment.

After engaging with the community and upgrading the university, we are seeing a rise in our student enrolment. Apart from that, we will keep improving the facilities, capacities, and services of the campus to attract more student, as well as stay up to date with the newest technologies.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: Trisakti University has established itself as one of the leading private universities in Indonesia, and has received many recognitions for its contributions in providing higher education. Can you tell us more about the university?

PROF. GHUFRON: Trisakti University is one of Indonesia's largest private university located in Jakarta, Indonesia. Founded on 29 November 1965, the university has more than 23,000 active students and has produced more than 100,000 alumni.

We have a good alumni network and we work together with them. Many of our alumni hold high positions both in the private and government sector. For example, Schlumberger – the oil company – has employed a Trisakti University graduate to fill high-level position. From this alumni network, we were able to obtain for free a student learning software for animating the exploration of oil and gas. The software would have cost us around IDR600,000,000.

Nationally, Trisakti University’s ranking has climbed 18 places last year – from the 60th to 42nd place. In terms of private universities in Jakarta, we are ranked 4th. In Indonesia, the highest ranks are still held by public universities, such as the University of Gadjah Mada, University of Indonesia and the Institute Teknologi Bandung. To catch up, private universities have also increased their competitiveness through partnerships with prestigious foreign universities.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: Can you share how Trisakti University keeps up with the trends in the higher education sector?

PROF. GHUFRON: We need to be able to forecast the human resources that the university needs five to 15 years ahead, so that we can prepare for it.

For example, to increase capacity, we adopted changes ahead of other universities in Indonesia to develop smart classrooms, which is a facility that modernises the teaching and learning process and allow students to explore advance technology. Another example is our improvement of the learning process for mechanical engineering students by using iClasses. We even have smart rooms that connect students live to English teachers around the globe, so that those who want to improve their English skills can benefit from its one-on-one method.

On top of that, Trisakti University offers dual degrees, and we are keen to establish more strategic partnerships to improve our competitiveness.

Additionally, we continue to network with global universities to upgrade our university. For example, lecturers and professors from universities in Japan have given lecture sessions at Trisakti University Dentistry Faculty as part of our collaboration. Another example is our collaboration with universities in the UK, such as Coventry University, to offer double degrees in our Faculty of Economy.