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The Role of Universities in Strengthening the Nation’s Character

Through the advancement of technology in the field of information and communication, young Indonesians are exposed to an abundance of information that is disseminated through the internet and easily accessed through smart devices. Such information not only has a positive impact but can also have a negative one.

Ideology, as well as views that are contradictory to the view of nationality, can now easily penetrate the thinking of the younger generation. In fact, if it is not accompanied by critical reasoning, it possible that the views change the character of the human beings, and thus have a negative impact on the people and the nation of Indonesia.

Therefore, the development of national character in the young generation is very important, and one way to accomplish this is through the process of education. This is in accordance with the function of today’s education which is not only limited to the dissemination and development of science alone. Education has become a tool to improve one’s humanity quality, through the development of good character and in accordance with human values, religiosity, and nationality. As part of general education, universities are expected to participate in building the character of their students.

The importance of character empowerment in universities has become a major theme at the National Seminar of Indonesian Private Universities Organizing Body Association (ABPPTSI) 2018, which was entitled “Weaving the Values ​​of Diversity and Nationality in Maintaining the Unity of NKRI through Character Empowerment in the Higher Education Context.” a seminar which was part of the series of the inauguration of ABPPTSI Regional Board of West Java 2018-2022 Period  was held on Wednesday (11/7) at Harris Hotel and Convention Centre Bandung, and Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar) acted as host of the event.

Embracing the young

Pancasila (The five Principles) one of the foundations of Indonesian nationality is the foundation for the Indonesian humane character that upholds values ​​such as humanity, respect for diversity, justice, and so forth. These values ​​should be developed in student campus life, one of them through the integration of Pancasila into the curriculum of lectures, and through activities and student organizations.

The integration is becoming increasingly important with the emergence of nationalist problems such as the radicalism that threatens the integrity of the Unity of the Republic of Indonesia, as deputy VI Bidkoor Kesbang Kemenkopolhukam, Arief Poerboyo Moekiyat stated in a seminar session entitled “Strengthening Nation’s Character in Higher Education Context”. The strength of the Pancasila foundation can be a deterrent to the notion that is not in line with the characteristics of the Indonesian nation. Therefore, there should be synergy between government and both public and private universities in the process of instilling Pancasila in students.

The challenge for universities today is how to embrace young people who have different mindsets and behaviors from previous generations to permeate Pancasila as part of their character.

Welcome to the disruption era

The challenge for private universities does not only come from the need for personal nationality for the learner but also the changes that occur in the world globally. With the acceleration of technological development and cyberspace, a disruptive era occurs, when all parties are encouraged to adapt to change.

As presented by Dr. Patdono Suwignjo in a seminar session entitled “Improving PTS (Private Universities’) Ranking and Clustering Strategies for Improving the Quality of Character in Higher Education in West Java”, private universities are expected to improve their quality by referring to the latest standards so as to compete in the disruption era. Character education cannot be separated from one of these standards, because good human beings are able to welcome, and even become agents of global change.

Universities are now not only required to be a science laboratory, but also a humanitarian laboratory. Character development in accordance with the views and values ​​of nationality is becoming increasingly important. Unpar is ready to collaborate with various parties to realize character education in the students themselves. Thus, it is expected that Unpar graduates become humane human beings, who respect diversity and have the competitiveness and ability to collaborate in welcoming the global era.