Strengthening Cultural and Educational Ties: KBRI Nairobi’s Familiarization Trip to UPI

The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia (KBRI) in Nairobi conducted a familiarization trip to Indonesia from November 27 to December 3, 2023. The purpose of this activity was to introduce Indonesia’s tourism, culture, and economy to the people of Kenya and exchange insights regarding potential collaboration, especially in the field of education, between Indonesia and Kenya.

As part of the familiarization trip to UPI, KBRI Nairobi invited two Kenyan journalists, Dudley Muchiri and Mwangi Maina, accompanied by R. Wisnu Lombardwinanto, the Counsellor for Information and Sociocultural Affairs at KBRI Nairobi, and Muhammad Farhan Faruq, the Secretary of KBRI Nairobi. The meeting took place on Friday (1/12/2023) in the Meeting Room of the Faculty of Language and Literature Education at UPI, Bandung.

Prof. Ahmad Bukhori Muslim, Ph.D., the Director of the Directorate of International Affairs at UPI, conveyed that the Indonesia University of Education has established collaborative relationships with several African countries. Currently, UPI has 38 students from Ghana, 6 students from Tanzania, 4 students from Egypt, 2 students from Madagascar, 2 students from Morocco, 1 student from Nigeria, 1 student from Tunisia, 1 student from Uganda, 1 student from Senegal, and 1 student from Libya.

The evolving education policies in Indonesian higher education, beneficial for both local and foreign students, were highlighted. Prof. Dr. Didi Sukyadi, M.A., the Vice Rector for Education and Student Affairs at UPI, explained that Indonesia offers the flagship program of Independent Campus Learning (Merdeka Belajar Kampus Merdeka or MBKM), a policy by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbudristek). The MBKM program includes Campus Teaching, Internships and Certified Independent Study (MSIB), Independent Entrepreneurship, Domestic Student Exchange, and International Student Exchange (IISMA) for one semester. UPI encourages students to participate in MBKM to enhance their skills and talents by engaging directly with society and the workforce, and undertaking projects based on industry needs.

Furthermore, UPI students engaged in MBKM, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and those with achievements can apply for credit conversion. The hope is that students can develop both hard and soft skills within and beyond the campus. Prof. Dr. Didi Sukyadi, M.A., emphasized that UPI also invites industry practitioners and government institutions to mentor students. The curriculum at UPI is designed to align with the industrial world, providing students with broad insights through training, experience, and interactions with others.

At the Indonesia University of Education, there is the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Science and Technology (PUI PT-TVET-RC) as UPI’s effort to enhance the competence of technical and vocational teachers. UPI has been appointed by the government to develop a Center of Excellence (CoE) in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The TVET program involves practical skill development to prepare students for employment in specific sectors.

The meeting between KBRI Nairobi and UPI during this familiarization trip is expected to strengthen cultural and educational ties between Indonesia and Kenya, encompassing collaboration in scholarship programs, research, and student exchanges.

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