Togar Simatupang, A Visionary Professor in Contributing for Indonesia

Written by Student Reporter, Salsabila Mayang (Management 2020)

Togar Simatupang is a Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. He is involved in a lot of researches and journals concerned not only in Supply Chain Management (automotive, manufacture, agriculture, IOT, and innovation platform), but more than included creative industry and human capital development in Indonesia. He has a vision to give contribution to Indonesia in education. According to his statement, there are two things in how an educator means to him :

  1. To educate in their own expertise (mastery of the field) in order to educate students to be competent and excellent.
  2. To take care of human capital and leadership as taking care of administration and committee. It is proved that he used to become chairman of study program in magister and doctor of science management.  He was also mandated by Sudarso Kaderi Wiyono to become vice dean in academic field SBM ITB, concerned in development study program of entrepreneurship that was the first study program opened in Indonesia.

Togar was indeed born as an engineering-based person (got Insinyur Profesional Utama) by PII (Persatuan Insinyur Indonesia). He thinks that science should be applied for specific industry. Contrary, he has desire to become a person who has vision and good leadership to reach accreditation and standardisation. He also thinks that Indonesia still have a problem in education quality which is disparity of education quality in every region in Indonesia. Afar from The Government of Jokowi in 2014 that proposed work plan of establishment from peripherals, since 2001 together with Luhut Panjaitan, Togar had started to establish educational institutions from the periphery region, exactly in Lake Toba, North Sumatra in that time, named Institut Teknologi Del (IT Del). He feels that it was such as calling to him, where seeing that most people who want to get good education usually migrate to Java island, where the industrial center are widespreaded there. But it was a great challenge for underprivileged student that they could not afford access of good education.

The eager of contribution to the nation in developing curriculum and study plans to bring out students to create works leads him in creating MoU between SBM ITB and IT Del to bring in great people to fill the seminar as speaker. Actually IT Del itself also mostly bring in 60 percent of lecturers from ITB. There is an evolutional development from only being lecturer that is mastering in the fields into a person who run study program and manage human resources. After being in that kind of process, he wanted to become more beneficial, then he decided to become rector of IT Del.

He also cooperate with “Lembaga Talenta Indonesia” to contribute in developing the talent of underprivileged students who has been forced to stop due to financial constraints. He sees that left behind peripheries are very far away compared to Java region as already become industrial and economic centre. He sees there are still many improvements of plan of this institution since it was established by Bappenas. In recent five years, Indonesia has been only focused on infrastructure. Bappenas proposed “Lembaga Talenta Pembangunan Indonesia”, but it is just concerned in cycle standard, which are recruitment, coaching, career system, remuneration, until retirement. But he saw no essential breakthrough, he then proposed three developments for this institution. First, it needs optimization of existing talents, so that it can be empowered and developed. Second, innovative breakthrough, to solve various problems, such as infrastructure, budget, stunting, and others. Third, prospecting the future, cause  McKinsey sees 30 percent current jobs will disappear in order to be implemented by human. Then he thinks that Indonesian people should prepare their existing talent to conquer the future challenge because human capital is different from machine and rigid resource.

Currently he is proceeding to the next level in becoming rector of ITB. To him, ITB has three background from the past, present, and future. In the past, ITB has DNA value of innovation, while having extraordinary human resources in all civitas include lecturer and student, they were having motivation to be innovative in creating technology system. For example, Palapa Satellite and Cakarayam Construction. Currently in the present, the value of innovation does still exist, but additionally ITB is finally having the accreditation of PTN-BH (Legal entity state educational institution) by BLU (Public Service Agency) which means ITB is already protected by law and legal. Therefore, because of strict regulation, then ITB is just focused on teaching and research, there is less innovation to answer society problem and needs. Budget is also dependent to government, such as loan and grant.

There is also disruptcy challenge, which is Revolution Industry 4.0, where everything nowadays goes digital. Learning can be everywhere, everytime, and with everyone. Nowadays, legal aspect is not considered as important while everyone can go work to Google and IBM by only proving skill with any certification that is not based on legal institution. Meanwhile in the future, he hopes that ITB will have potential in work canalization and channeling in development of resources potential.

Seeing ITB in the future, ITB has a vision which is “Unggul, Mandiri, Bermartabat” should actualize great idea and innovation to answer society problem, to take advantage of science for nation and social welfare. ITB also should be involved in building excellent human resources. To him, the vision of ITB itself has meaning as :

  1. “Unggul” is to be able to do work well and can be referral for other 100-200 universities in Indonesia. It is not important to be world-class university where still many Indonesian universities need benchmark to improve where not just being cool on maintaining own ranking beacuse it will just only paying for its training services, not its system such as software, but it is more important to become impactful to others and society.
  2. “Mandiri” means must be able to raise quality of education by own intellectual ability, social ability, and networkin in order to bring up new innovator
  3. “Bermartabat” means that civitas should give solution and contribution instead of dependent to loan and grant.

Proposing idea to improve the excellence as vision of ITB lead him to create online teaching platform based on experience, which is platform of mobile learning to support student’s education daily life. Freshmen should be taught of application programming and time management. Two problems faced by students which are, learn something unnecessary and not learn something necessary. There are many platforms, it can be cooperated with Pearson. Patriotism and nationalism can be applied well by appropriate learning. Conceive, design, implement, and operate.

Learning management system in creating interaction between student and lecturer, also social innovation involvement is significant to answer poverty, intolerance, education stunting, energy, food, pertahanan, maritime. Enhance to every one in ITB and other 100-200 universities in Indonesia become an excellent.. Just like in Korea, product created by student have been exported to those who needsto add to the benefit for society. That is what is called as education to him. Collaboration is also essential to create solution for every problem such as collaborating with study program of biology and electricity engineering to create digital-based solution for humanity. He hopes ITB should be focused on social technology, environmental technology, and digital technology.

Innovation Capacity and Income Capacity as he proposed for futuristic program as long as for Centre of National Cyber Education that can serve engineering certification, it can be cooperated to many stakeholders such as Khan Academy. Disruptive technology to conquer Industrial Revolution 4.0, such as in the next five years there 5G technologies will come in Indonesia. This platform is expected to co-create value in order to answer nation and society problem. It will offer distant learning in form of game and learning aid. Considering market of online learning and education system is large, but 30% of them comes from Singapore and India which is in Asia. But still there is no contribution comes from Indonesia, so it should be said that ITB as Entreprise should face and conquer that disruptive technology. Product based on digital and cyber will be much encouraged.

Based on survey from World Economic Forum, 30% of skills that will be needed in 2020 is to deal with conflict and problem, complex problem solving, to manage all stakeholders and various issues (economic, social, ecological). Therefore, development of human capital that can create value is essential to do. As stated by IDM World Talent Ranking 2018, Indonesia has reached fifth rank in Asia-Pacific, defeated by Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Thailand. The ranking is structured according to three factors, which are development of home-grown talent, ability of the country to tap into the overseas talent pool, and availability of skills and competencies. There comes the issues of talent system, it all started from education sector. So it can produce the work skills of talent to create a good labor market and trigger quality, productive and innovative determinants of competitiveness. Simple conclusions that must be drawn from each Indonesian talent is 4C that stands for Collaborative, Creative, Competent, and Critical Thinking.