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Challenges for Higher Education in Facing the Digital Era

Innovation in various fields of science has brought about a change in the global society. Despite the great progress, this change also has a negative impact on institutions and society.This encourages the various parties to make a breakthrough, the goal among others being so as not to lag and be decadent. This is also the case with education.Over time, higher education institutions also experience various changes. As experienced by the Faculty of Economics of Parahyangan Catholic University (FE Unpar), the oldest faculty in Unpar.FE Unpar proved able to develop with time and contribute to society. However, a change in the world that is entering a new era is also a big challenge for FE Unpar’s existence.Reflecting its journey since 1955, FE Unpar held the 63rd Celebration and Oratio Dies on Friday (9/2). The Scientific Orator Dr. Judith Felicia Pattiwael Irawan, Dra., MT. raised the theme “Challenges for Higher Education Facing the Digital Era.”Celebrations and Oratio Dies did not only invite FE Unpar’s community, students and lecturers, but also alumni and representatives of the Unpar Foundation.

Disruptive Era

The Scientific Oration began with a description of the phenomenon of progress that occurs today. First, the emergence of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is driven by the advancement of the digital world, which is characterized by the increasing use of artificial intelligence(AI) in industrial processes such as robots that have algorithms that enable them to learn new things without special input from operators. The existence of robots, in addition to improving production efficiency, reduces the need for human labor.

The digital era is also characterized by the emergence of the Internet society. The interconnectivity of the global community with computers, devices, and other digital devices creates a “new” world, a virtual world separate from the real world. The emergence of this new society has penetrated various fields. For example, there is now the economic digitization through e-commerce , which enables faster and more secure transactions, as well as opening up business opportunities for new entrepreneurs.

The existence of digital technology led to a disruptive era, that is, rapid innovation as needed becomes vital. The need for a highly practical digital society is a challenge for all spheres of life, including education.

Not to mention the emergence of digitalization in the industrial and economic fields, although this opens opportunities, but it also poses a threat to the workforce that will be replaced by artificial intelligence. This is what creates urgency for institutions, including colleges, to better innovate the advancement of the digital age.


Improve Interaction

The digital age generates the millennial generation, the younger generation with distinctive characteristics. They are a generation that has the power of extraordinary information, supported by global interconnectivity through the internet network. The character of millennial generations that are different from previous generations will cause differences in perception and action to respond to change.

Therefore, the step of the educating millennial generation must be adapted to the development of the phenomenon of “the present time”.

The competitiveness of the younger generation is influenced by the knowledge and experience its members acquired during their college years. Therefore, universities must develop various factors to be able to compete, and produce qualified graduates. One of these factors is creating a curriculum that understands the needs of society in the digital age, innovating in teaching and learning. This can be achieved through the development of digital learning process and by involving students actively in research activities and community service.


Unpar Innovation

In line with the changes that took place in the community, FE and Unpar as a whole continue to pursue through various innovations in the field of learning, one of which is supported by the existence of the Learning Innovation Center (PIP). The improvement of the curriculum adapted to current phenomena and needs is very important in maintaining Unpar’s competitiveness as one of the best universities in Indonesia.

Other innovations such as the learning process and digital databases through the Interparent Digital Learning Environment (IDE) Unpar, whose use is increasingly widespread, is also constantly being improved.  Unpar IDE is not only a way for digitizing universities, but it also increases the interaction between faculty and students.

The use of Unpar’s IDE is reinforced by the use of global scientific databases managed by Unpar’s Library. Books and digital journals simplify Unpar’s community in the learning process so as to improve the quality of science lecturers and students, in order to compete in this digital era.


Source: KOMPAS – Griya Ilmu (Tuesday, 27 February 2018)