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Hubs and wires: Internet use in Indonesian NGOs is strengthening civil society

Tuesday, 24 February 2009 Leave a comment

Two days after the tsunami hit the northern tip of Sumatra on Boxing Day 2004, Yayasan AirPutih (airputih.or.id ) began working quietly, far from publicity, to reconstruct the communication backbone destroyed by the disaster. Using VHF/UHF radio, V-Sat and wireless technology, AirPutih restored communication in Aceh, making its first Internet broadcast on 30 December 2004. This was in spite of the radio silence policy imposed by the local military and government. Yayasan AirPutih also provided the first free satellite telephone and wireless Internet connection in Banda Aceh for humanitarian relief organisations working in the area and continued to do so until it ran out of money. In addition, Yayasan AirPutih played a vital role in establishing the first media centre (acehmediacenter.or.id ) which relayed to the world what happened at ‘ground zero’, channelled support and coordinated humanitarian aid. Without Yayasan AirPutih, the reconstruction of an information infrastructure and initial relief in Aceh after the disaster would have been impossible.

The urgent need to reconstruct Aceh’s information infrastructure, and in particular to provide Internet access, reflects the importance of this technology to the work of both Indonesian and foreign NGOs and aid organisations. Yet Internet use among Indonesian NGOs is a relatively recent phenomenon. It is only in the last decade or so that the Internet has became more widely available and the technology adopted by Indonesian NGOs. However, in that time, Internet use has had a significant impact on the organisations and their work.

Read the full article in INSIDE INDONESIA here.

Hubs and wires: Internet use in Indonesian NGOs is strengthening civil society

Tuesday, 24 February 2009 Leave a comment

Two days after the tsunami hit the northern tip of Sumatra on Boxing Day 2004, Yayasan AirPutih (airputih.or.id ) began working quietly, far from publicity, to reconstruct the communication backbone destroyed by the disaster. Using VHF/UHF radio, V-Sat and wireless technology, AirPutih restored communication in Aceh, making its first Internet broadcast on 30 December 2004. This was in spite of the radio silence policy imposed by the local military and government. Yayasan AirPutih also provided the first free satellite telephone and wireless Internet connection in Banda Aceh for humanitarian relief organisations working in the area and continued to do so until it ran out of money. In addition, Yayasan AirPutih played a vital role in establishing the first media centre (acehmediacenter.or.id ) which relayed to the world what happened at ‘ground zero’, channelled support and coordinated humanitarian aid. Without Yayasan AirPutih, the reconstruction of an information infrastructure and initial relief in Aceh after the disaster would have been impossible.

The urgent need to reconstruct Aceh’s information infrastructure, and in particular to provide Internet access, reflects the importance of this technology to the work of both Indonesian and foreign NGOs and aid organisations. Yet Internet use among Indonesian NGOs is a relatively recent phenomenon. It is only in the last decade or so that the Internet has became more widely available and the technology adopted by Indonesian NGOs. However, in that time, Internet use has had a significant impact on the organisations and their work.

Read the full article in INSIDE INDONESIA here.

Categories: Uncategorized

home education public consultation in the UK

Sunday, 22 February 2009 Leave a comment

Dear all,

Recently, I and Ira took part in the public consultation with the UK Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families who has commissioned an independent review to assess whether current systems that support and monitor home education are the right ones.

We share here what we have told the commission – if this is of some use for you. No secret here ..

Some parts will sound very ‘harsh’ and ‘difficult’ – but as this is a public consultation we have to make sure the voice is heard by the government.

Don’t get us wrong. We are not anti-school. And we also don’t think all school (and schooling) is a bad idea in its own right. No. We believe that school should indeed be a quality way of providing education to people. HE is just an alternative where the systems do not work or when parents (and children alike) would like to have an alternative.

So, what we do here is that we are just expressing our concern as a HE family in the UK, who often have to bear unnecessary problems as HE is viewed as ‘odd’ and even ‘illegal’ and this justifies annoying visits from LEA, and even DSS (this is the extent to which we ‘envy’ our friends practising HE in other countries … :-))

best – and btw, have a good weekend!
y (and i)

==========================


1. Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate?

NO. Although we have not experienced directly (maybe because our children are still not at the compulsory school age yet), we are aware (from the group interaction among HE parents) that the government authority has perhaps intruded too much in the family’s choice to home educate their children over sending them to school.

I think despite that HE has already been formally acknowledged, many LEA staff are not aware of what the parents’ rights to home educate are and not aware of the limit of the ‘intrusion’ they can cause. I believe more training to LEA staff would be necessary to avoid unnecessary unpleasant interaction between parents and authority.

Secondly, but more importantly, as parents we have rights to determine what is best for our children and no one should refrain us from exercising these rights. The children too, when they due, they have freedom to chose the most-suited learning process for themselves. Sending them to school by force will not do any good. Home Education should be viewed as an alternative to common schooling. There are plenty examples that home educated children then attend school at later stage when they feel they are ready. These students, when entering the school at full will and consciousneess, perform much better than others who may have attended class just by ‘force’.

2. Do you think that home educated children are able to achieve the following five Every Child Matters outcomes?

2.a. Be healthy

YES – Being home educated parents can make sure children eat healthy food and have enough safe exercise. It is no secret that school meals are not so healthy and that PE has not always been safe. We take our kids regularly to museums, libraries, art galeries to learn; swimming pools and sport centres as well as having regular nature walk and other outdoor activities to have a healthy exercise. We cook our own food from organic raw materials. We use and consume neither pre-processed food nor MSG (monosodium glutamate). We know exactly what gets in to the stomach of our children and know exactly what they do.

2.b. Stay safe

YES – Home education is in fact the safest way to raise up young children. They will be free from abuse and bullying, be it from other children and teachers. We are aware the accusation of parents abusing children and we are also aware that it may have taken place somewhere else. But simply correlating (or worse: associating) this kind of abuse and HE parents is a big mistake. The first and main reason for homeschool (home education) is to protect children against this sort of violence.

2.c. Enjoy and achieve

YES – The basic principle of home education is ENJOYABLE LEARNING PROCESS both for parents and children. If either is unhappy and cannot enjoy the process then the whole home education scheme for the family is bound to fail. We believe firmly in this principle and so far we have been enjoying the learning process. Being in intensive contact with our kids has made us able to notice even the smallest achievement: progress in singing, knowing letters, readings, etc. Also, HE makes possible for kids to learn multi-cultural interaction through get-together activities with other cultural/ethnic groups which sometimes is difficult to be achieved at schools. For overseas/foreign families, HE enables families to nurture their own tradition. In our case, we are Asian living in British culture. While we encourage our children to blend-in with the local culture, HE gives us plenty opportunities to learn and revitalise our own cultures, languages, traditions and other cultural practices. These all give more enjoyment in learning.

We do not discount the fact that learning process in school is also enjoyable — and it has actually to be enjoyable for both pupils/students and teachers but what is missing there is the parents involvement. Perhaps in the society like ours which nurtures “both parents work and children learn at school” we lose sense of how important the involvement of parents in children education is. It is not that schooling is bad, but that home education would provide more opportunities for parents to be involved in their children education — although there is a price: not both parents can work full time in a certain period. there has to be a different arrangement. (In my family only one of us works full time). Again, in the society which glorifies financial gain above everything else, this will be looked as pitty and odd. But, this is the hard truth: there is a trade-off between enjoying learning with your own children and earning merely for more income.

2.d. Make a positive contribution

YES – Often home educated children (and parents) are accused of being less able to socialise. This is a very wrong misconception. Not only that we (HE parents and children) regularly get together in groups, regularly join social gathering, take part in organising meetings in community centres, but that we build the sense of sociality since the very early time of our children’s age by taking them in these activities. We bring our children to social events, public places, etc., and involve them in social activities serving other groups (e.g. in our case, we participate in locally-organised parents and toddler’s groups). This makes the children even more socially conscious and socially aware not only about their own family but also about other’s needs. In turn, they learn more and contribute more to their society when they grow up because they know the reality in which they live. There are many grown-up home educated people who make posit
ive contribution to the society. And it is not uncommon. In fact home educated children will have more opportunities to contribute as they experience society in real sense –rather than in experimental/laboratory/ju
st-in-the-class experience.

2.e. Achieve economic well-being

YES – The main problematic aspect of ‘economic well-being’ as the majority would understand –especially in our society– is that we are bound to earn income as much as possible. By doing so, parents, inadvertently, have been forced to retreat from their main responsibility to play the most important part of their children’s education. Instead, they send children to school and hand over this responsibility to school.

This is the view that we oppose. being economically well-being does not necessarily mean we have to refrain from our responsibility to be involved in our children education. Furthermore, many of us live an unbalanced and an unhealthy life in which the pursuit of economic income leads everything else and is at the expense of other needs — including proper children education. We know many HE families, including ours, live simple life, economically and physically healthy despite single income. We eat organic and healthy food sourced from local market. We enjoy socialisation at public places like libraries and museums. We have access to basic health services. This list goes on and on. The main message is that: economic well-being is a matter of mental state rather than financial saving.

This is the value we would like to ‘implant’ in our children minds when they grow up. We believe if they are let to learn anything they want, they will excel in the field and expertise in which they have passion and interest. If they become expert in that field, economic well-being will follow. Economic well-being is a result, rather than a cause.

3. Do you think that Government and local authorities have an obligation to ensure that all children in this country are able to achieve the five outcomes?

YES – Clear cut answers:
One. Ensure the provision of good schooling service. Government has done fairly well. But there are many things that need improvement: from policies to capacity building of teachers.

Two. Ensure adequate support to home education scheme. Home education should be socialised to all LEA staff so that they are fully aware that the government supports the idea and they stop intruding families’ (peaceful) life.

4. Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families?

YES –
1. Clearly LEA staffs at all localities need more information about HE – most importantly the message should come across clearly that HE is *not* illegal and that HE is parents’ rights and is supported by the government. Then come the more detailed things: capacity building to LEA staff, etc.

2. Make a country-wide information campaign that HE is legal and supported by government as alternative to conventional schooling.

3. The issuance of HE ID cards for both children and parents that can be used to protect the families against unnecessary (but which might still happen) intrusion from authorities.

5. Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families?

YES – Clear: The government should remove all policies to monitor home educating families. They are (we are) not criminals that have to be under surveillance.

6. Some people have expressed concern that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude or other forms of child neglect. What do you think Government should do to ensure this does not happen?

Firstly, these ‘some people’ do not understand the difference between what home education is and what ‘bad family conduct’ is. So, please check the statistics to see if those cases directly link to home education. I have a strong belief that this stems from a suspicion towards Asian culture. Being Asian family ourselves, we can assure you that our culture has nothing to do with this sort of abuse.

In a healthy society, people know each other. The government know what their people are doing and the people trust their government and enjoys freedom and privacy. This is the vision we should build. Not the surveillance society in which everyone fears of being monitored.

Enabling neighbourhood wardens might be a solution, or other community-based local group in which government representative can be present in the regular meeting — is more than enough to address this concern.

***

Categories: Uncategorized

krisis global tak berdampak ke TKI di inggris? yang bener aja …

Saturday, 7 February 2009 9 comments

siang sampai sore hari ini saya mendapat telepon dari tanah air beberapa kali. kalau tak salah hitung, ada 8 atau 9 kali, dari orang yang berbeda-beda dan dua diantaranya dari media massa. ada kemiripan semua isi telepon itu. awalnya, semua bertanya, “apa benar tak ada dampak krisis ekonomi saat ini di inggris?“. saya jawab, “tidak benar“. lalu saya tanya balik, “kenapa?” lalu dijawab, “kompas yang bilang itu“. saya menukas, “ngawur itu. sudah pasti kompas salah.” lalu ditanggapi lagi, “lha ini dari wawancara mereka yang bekerja di ingris kok“. lalu saya menukas lagi, “lha yang diwawancarai yang nggak ngerti situasinya.” lalu yang bikin saya shock, “lha bukannya kamu juga diwawancarai?”

Read more…

krisis global tak berdampak ke TKI di inggris? yang bener aja …

Friday, 6 February 2009 17 comments

siang sampai sore hari ini saya mendapat telepon dari tanah air beberapa kali. kalau tak salah hitung, ada 8 atau 9 kali, dari orang yang berbeda-beda dan dua diantaranya dari media massa. ada kemiripan semua isi telepon itu. awalnya, semua bertanya, “apa benar tak ada dampak krisis ekonomi saat ini di inggris?“. saya jawab, “tidak benar“. lalu saya tanya balik, “kenapa?” lalu dijawab, “kompas yang bilang itu“. saya menukas, “ngawur itu. sudah pasti kompas salah.” lalu ditanggapi lagi, “lha ini dari wawancara mereka yang bekerja di ingris kok“. lalu saya menukas lagi, “lha yang diwawancarai yang nggak ngerti situasinya.” lalu yang bikin saya shock, “lha bukannya kamu juga diwawancarai?”

mereka yang menelepon saya itu rupanya merujuk pada artikel ini yang ternyata berasal dari kantor berita antara. dan memang nama saya disebut dalam artikel itu. tetapi saya tidak pernah diwawancarai dan memang artikel tersebut tidak bilang bahwa ada wawancara dengan saya. saya semata-mata hanya disebut sebagai ‘pelengkap (penderita)’.

namun yang membuat saya sangat heran, adalah isi dan kesimpulan artikel tersebut yang mengatakan bahwa krisis global tak berdampak ke TKI di inggris. itu jelas-jelas ngawur.

dalam dua bulan ini, setidaknya enam kenalan saya di negeri ratu elisabeth ini harus balik kanan pulang kampung karena kontrak kerjanya tak diperpanjang karena alasan krisis (bahas kerennya “kena redundancy“). mereka itu ada yang pekerja hotel, ada yang insinyur, ada yang arsitek, ada yang asisten konsultan profesional. lalu banyak email yang saya terima dari para mahasiswa baru yang mengeluhkan betapa kini sangat sulit mencari pekerjaan kasar sambilan (yang favorit: cleaner, atau floor engineer). puluhan email lainnya mengeluhkan bahwa kini sulit mencari pekerjaan di inggris setelah selesai kuliah master atau PhD.

(menjadi salah satu ‘sesepuh’ warga indonesia di manchester/inggris ini, di satu sisi, membuat saya mersa ‘repot’ karena dengan menjadi tempat keluh kesah banyak kawan, waktu dan energi mental/emosional saya terkuras. tapi di sisi lain, saya jadi tahu banyak cerita/kisah dan belajar banyak dari kawan-kawan ini dan berusaha membantu sebisa saya. karena itu, saya tidak merasa berkeberatan dengan ‘peran’ ini. istri saya juga mendukung, kok .. :-) seringkali selain via email yang kapan saja datang, beberapa kawan menelepon atau mengetok pintu malam-malam sekedar untuk berkeluh kesah, ngobrol atau berdiskusi .. dan selama memungkinkan selalu kami ‘layani’. rumah kami selalu terbuka untuk siapa saja)

negara ini memang sedang krisis. itu jelas kasat mata. pengangguran hampir 2 juta, imigrasi eropa timur sedemikian gencar. akibatnya cari pekerjaan sulit – hampir di semua sektor. bahkan di sektor pendidikan. aturan keimigrasian pun berubah drastis.

saya ingat, waktu saya harus ‘melamar’ (formalitas) pekerjaan saya sekarang ini sebagai peneliti (dan dosen), klausanya dalam iklan lowongan pekerjaan itu berbunyi kurang lebih: “under the Immigration Act 1971, overseas nationals working in the UK who are subject to immigration control require work permits and these are applied for by the University“. kini, sejak 27 november 2008, bunyinya lain: “Initial appointment will be subject to …. the provision of proof of the right to work in the UK”. dan ini ternyata berbuntut panjang. waktu saya cari asisten dua bulan yang lalu, asisten yang saya dapatkan, yang warga AS, setengah mati harus mengikuti sistem point dalam Tier 2 karena sistem ijin kerja (work permit) tidak berlaku lagi.

dengan keadaan seperti ini, walau saya tidak bisa menerima, tetapi saya mengerti sepenuhnya mengapa pemerintah (dan perusahaan/institusi/kantor-kantor di) inggris menjadi sangat berhati-hati dalam soal ketenagakerjaan. lha wong 2 juta warganya sendiri menganggur kok. tentu itu prioritas mereka. setelah itu, tentu warga uni eropa. jika kita yang pendatang ini tersingkir (PHK, kontrak tak diperpanjang, sulit cari kerja, dll), itu bukan hal yang aneh. justru aneh kalau kita merasa aneh. atau justru aneh kalau kita merasa tak kena dampaknya.

tentu selalu ada pengecualian. mereka yang punya keahlian langka tetap akan bisa bekerja di sini. tetapi kini untuk bisa memberikan certificate of sponsorship bagi staf dari luar uni eropa untuk melamar visa kerja lewat skema Tier 2 (dulu work permit reference untuk visa kerja) bukan hal mudah. setidaknya jauh lebih sulit daripada menulis WP reference. itu alasan lain mengapa perusahaan-perusahaan memilih mempekerjakan orang lokal atau mereka yang tak butuh disponsori visanya.

PHK dan pengangguran massal di inggris ini juga membuat mobilitas horisontal pekerja bertambah dan membuat pasar kerja jadi makin ‘menakutkan’. bahkan terjadi devaluasi kualifikasi. waktu saya buka lamaran mencari asisten bulan november/desember kemarin, lebih dari separo yang melamar over qualified. saya cuma butuh master tetapi banyak lamaran dari mereka yang sudah PhD dan punya pengalaman kerja dan punya sejarah gaji tinggi. mereka rela digaji rendah asal bekerja. dan … ini sektor pendidikan/riset, yang relatif lebih “tenang” riak gelombang dampak krisisnya ketimbang sektor privat.

sudahlah … makin mangkel saja kalau ingat artikel kompas itu sementara kenyataannya berkebalikan 180 derajat. hehehe ..

jadi, tadi saya tulis surat ‘protes’ ke kompas. entah dimuat entah tidak. biarin. suratnya ada di bawah ini. siapa tahu anda ingin tahu?

salam,
y
ps. gambar saya ambil dari daily telegraph

—————–

Yth. Redaksi Kompas Cyber Media
Cc. Bp. Agus Hamonangan – Forum Pembaca Kompas

Dengan hormat,

Saya ingin menanggapi artikel yang dimuat di Kompas CyberMedia hari ini berjudul “Krisis Global tak Berdampak ke TKI di Inggris” (http://www.kompas.com/read/xml/2009/02/06/02163362/krisis.global.tak.berdampak.ke.tki.di.inggris….) yang nampaknya bersumber dari Kantor Berita Antara.

Saya merasa perlu menanggapi bukan semata-mata karena nama saya disebut dalam artikel tersebut tanpa saya memberikan informasi pada Antara ataupun Kompas, namun terutama karena judul dan klaim utama yang ditulis artikel itu tidak benar dan tidak mencerminkan apa yang terjadi di Inggris.

Judul dan kalimat pertama yang berbunyi “Maraknya pemutusan hubungan kerja (PHK) seiring dengan krisis ekonomi yang melanda Kerajaan Inggris (UK) belakangan ini ternyata tidak berimbas pada tenaga kerja Indonesia (TKI) di Britania Raya” itu sama sekali tidak benar. Artikel tersebut hanya merujuk sebagian kecil dari warga Indonesia yang bekerja di Inggris di sektor-sektor formal dan ‘elit’. Rujukan ini punya segumpal kebenaran, meski sa
ya tahu persis tidak 100%. Faktanya, ada sejumlah warga Indonesia yang bekerja sebagai insinyur, arsitek, konsultan, pekerja sektor pariwisata (hotel, turisme) yang terkena PHK atau kontraknya tidak diperpanjang (dikenal dengan istilah “kena redundancy“) dan kehilangan pekerjaan. Mereka terpaksa ‘turun tingkat’ melakukan kerja kasar (casual work) agar bertahan hidup, atau pindah ke negara lain, atau pulang ke tanah air.

Mereka yang bekerja kasar pun, apalagi, juga terkena krisis ini dan lebih terasa. Para pekerja di sektor ini biasanya para mahasiswa atau bapak/ibu rumah tangga yang ingin mendapatkan yang ingin mencari tambahan pemasukan. Kebanyakan bekerja sebagai pramusaji, petugas kebersihan (tukang sapu/pel), penjaga toko, pengasuh orang jompo, pekerja di balai kota, dll. Bukan hanya karena himpitan krisis, tetapi juga karena arus migrasi warga Eropa Timur ke Inggris, bukan rahasia lagi bahwa mendapatkan pekerjaan kasar ini pun sekarang sangat sulit.

Barangkali karena saya sudah cukup lama tinggal di Inggris, beberapa warga Indonesia datang ‘mengeluh’ dan ‘berkeluh-kesah’ atas nasib buruk PHK atau susahnya mencari kerja yang menimpa mereka. Karena itu, tanpa harus membuka identitas yang mereka percayakan kepada saya, saya menegaskan argumen utama artikel di Kompas CyberMedia itu tidak benar. Krisis global itu berimbas pada TKI di Inggris.

Untuk catatan Kompas: Pemerintah Inggris mengumumkan angka resmi pengangguran per Oktober tahun lalu mencapai 1.8 juta dan angka ini akan terus bertambah tahun ini (lihat berita di BBC misalnya, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7802461.stm – atau di sumber lain seperti The Guardian). Krisis ketenagakerjaan ini makin parah karena kebijakan keimigrasian sebelumnya yang cenderung ‘terbuka’ membuat Inggris kewalahan diserbu imigran dari Eropa Timur dan negara-negara persemakmuran bekas negara jajahan mereka. Kini, sebagai bagian dari upaya menangani dampak krisis ini, keimigrasian juga makin ‘ketat’. Aturan baru keimigrasian Inggris diberlakukan per 27 November 2008 kemarin dan skema lama ‘ijin kerja’ (work permit) bagi calon pekerja dari luar Uni Eropa tidak berlaku lagi. Sebagai gantinya Inggris menerapkan sistem point dalam skema Tier 1-2-3-4-5 (baru Tier 1, 2 dan 5 yang diluncurkan) yang, dengan segala aturan turunan dan konsekuensinya, menjadi relatif lebih rumit dan sulit bagi mereka yang ingin bekerja di Inggris — termasuk warga Indonesia.

[Kebetulan saya menjadi anggota peneliti Universitas Manchester untuk Uni Eropa yang meneliti mobilitas para peneliti di Uni Eropa (RINDICATE) pada tahun 2007-2008. Dalam laporan kami kepada Komisi Eropa, terungkap bahwa keimigrasian menjadi salah satu faktor penting yang menghambat mobilitas para peneliti yang berasal bukan dari Uni Eropa ini. Silakan baca laporan tersebut yang tersedia online di website Komisi Eropa http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/rindicate_final_report_2008_11_june_08_v4.pdf%5D

Saya mengharapkan agar di lain waktu Kompas CyberMedia lebih berhati-hati dalam menyampaikan berita, walaupun hanya sekedar meneruskan dari Kantor Berita Antara. Silakan email saya ini diteruskan ke Antara jika dianggap berguna.

Terima kasih dan salam hormat,

Yanuar Nugroho, PhD.
Peneliti di Institut Kajian Inovasi Manchester (MIOIR)
Universitas Manchester, Inggris Raya
yanuar.nugroho@manchester.ac.uk

Categories: Uncategorized
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