Editorial

Editorial (536)

24
November

Face-to-Face Learning by Applying Health Protocols - EDITORIAL                                                                                                                                                        UNICEF

Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Anwar Makarim allowed regional heads and regional offices of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to determine face-to-face learning in their own regions. The policy will take effect in the even semester of the 2020/2021 school year or starting January 2021. Thereby, he asks schools to well prepare for it. This was stated by Minister Nadiem Makarim in the Announcement of the Implementation of Even Semester Learning for the 2020/2021 Academic Year during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Friday (20/11). He also said that the granting of this permit could be simultaneous or gradual, depending on the readiness of each region. The announcement was based on the joint decision of 4 ministers, namely the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education and Culture, the Minister of Religion and the Minister of Home Affairs.


The announcement of the Minister of Education and Culture may be a relief for students and parents of students, especially those living in remote areas. Studying online during the restrictions due to the Covid-19 Pandemic is a challenge for them. The internet signal is not good, the inability to buy a device as the main tool for learning from home and the lack of the ability of parents to accompany their children while studying are obstacles. Besides, the children 
are getting bored at home.


The teachers also 
undergo the obstacles. Even though teachers and students get credit and free Wi-Fi assistance from the government for long distance learning, without devices that are still relatively expensive, it is difficult for teachers to reach their students. It is often reported in the media that teachers are willing to walk farther to reach their underprivileged students so that they can study face-to-face, because students do not have devices.


However, the announcement of starting face-to-face learning is also greeted with concern among educators, epidemiologists and parents of students. The reason is that the pandemic is still ongoing in Indonesia and there are no signs of the transmission rate decreasing.


The government has determined that face-to-face learning starting in 2021 must be based on considerations by paying attention to facts in the field. Now
, it remains what the government takes to support this decision. The central government can assist regional governments to ensure adequate infrastructure in implementing health protocols in schools. Before the school opens, surely the environment is clean; there are facilities for running water and soap for frequent hand washing. Close supervision of wearing masks and maintaining distance must also be applied.


The year 2021 is approaching closely, while the pandemic has yet to show a decline, and face-to-face learning is not necessarily 100 percent possible. The regional governments could consider conducting fifty-percent face-to-face and and 50% online learning. The important thing is that children's education is not left behind and health protocols can still be applied.

23
November

Last Thursday (19/11), the Central Bank -Bank Indonesia (BI) Board of Governors Meeting decided to lower interest rates in a bid to boost economic growth. BI lowered the BI 7-Day Reverse Repo Rate (BI7DRR) by 25 basis points to 3.75%, then the deposit facility rate to 3%, and the lending facility rate to 4.5%.

This decision was taken by considering low inflation, maintaining external stability, and as further steps to accelerate national economic recovery. Bank Indonesia remains committed to supporting liquidity provision, including Bank Indonesia's support for the government in accelerating the realization of the 2020 State Budget.

According to Governor of Bank Indonesia, Perry Warjiyo, the decision was to continue the rupiah exchange rate stabilization policy in line with market fundamentals and mechanisms. In addition, lowering interest rates is also intended to strengthen the monetary operation strategy to support accommodative monetary policy. The decision to lower interest rates also took into account several indicators that improved in October 2020. Some of the indicators are people mobility, food sales and online sales, manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), and public income. External factors also show indicators of improvement, such as a surplus in the balance of payments in the third quarter of 2020, driven by improvements in the current account and financial capital transactions.

The lowering of the bank's benchmark interest rate is expected to lower lending rates to boost the economy. Export performance is now starting to increase. So, it is time for banks to start giving credit back to the business world. Efforts made by Bank Indonesia need to be supported so that Indonesia can rise from the current economic slowdown.

 

20
November

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) meeting was officially opened virtually in Malaysia today. Previously, there were several meetings and statements of APEC leaders regarding the global economic conditions due to the pandemic that has hit the world for several months. A joint statement by APEC ministers on Monday (16/11) outlined the need for free, fair and non-discriminatory trade practices to promote economic recovery from the pandemic and structural reforms to promotion of sustainable and inclusive growth. On Thursday afternoon before APEC officially opened, Chinese President Xi Xinping declared that the future of the world economy would be in China. However, the Chinese leader did not discuss too deeply the conditions of his country's continuing trade war with the USA. Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo introduced the Omnibus Law as a legal product that will facilitate the investment process in Indonesia.

Four days ago at the ASEAN Summit Meeting, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed as a further reaction to the Trans-Pacific Partnership bloc that former US president Barack Obama had pushed to strengthen the regional economy.

The world is now looking forward to whether this virtual 2020 APEC Meeting would produce meaningful steps to improve the world's economic conditions shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic.

18
November

The fighting stopped. Nagorno Karabakh on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia is no longer a scene of gunfire. The death toll from the military and civilians on both sides, namely Azeraijan and Armenia, has not increased any more. The peace agreement between the two countries apparently  succeeded in mediating the armed conflict that occurred. The beautiful Caucasia region is no longer full of the sound of mortar, rifle and bomb blasts.

The peace agreement between Armania and Azerbaijan which took place on November 10, 2020, became a momentum for solving the problem. Not only the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia who  signed the peace agreement. Russian President Vladimir Putin co-signed it on Monday 11 November 2020 at 1 am, in the city of Baku. Russia's participation in the signing of the peace agreement certainly shows how much influence and interest this country has in Armenia, at least. What is interesting is Turkey's exclusion from the agreement. While in fact,  it cannot be denied that  Turkey also has interests and influence in Azerbaijan. The existence of the two countries, namely Russia and Turkey in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, has been a part of history for a long time. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia were part of the Soviet Union before it broke up due to perestroika.

As a follow-up to the peace agreement, Russia felt the need to send peacekeeping troops. President Putin confirmed this in his speech after the peace agreement was signed. At least nearly 2000 military personnel will be involved in what is known as peacekeeping. Although it did not make a direct statement, Turkey is also likely to take part in peacekeeping actions. The Azerbaijani president revealed Turkey's involvement in a statement following Putin's speech.

The world hopes that this agreement will become a milestone for the creation of sustainable peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Not just to temporarily to stop the fierce fighting in Nagorno Karabakh that happened for weeks that has left thousands dead. The hope of lasting peace on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia is very reasonable, because previously there has been a peace agreement in the Caucasian Region. In the 1980s and early 90s, armed conflicts resulted in the death of thousands and an influx of people from Nagorno Karabakh. At that time the fighting stopped because of the peace agreement. But lately the commitment to maintain the peace was violated by both parties and led to the next conflict or war. The current dispatch of peacekeepers, both by Russia and Turkey, is certainly expected to maintain peace. Those two countries, which are foreign parties with influence in  the Azerbaijan and Armenia dispute, must have a joint commitment to always mediate whenever there is a potential for confrontation. They must be able to use their influence for the creation of lasting peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

17
November

Messages in International Tolerance Day - Editorial                                                                                                                                                                                         edukids

 

 

The world commemorates International Tolerance Day every November 16, 2020. UNESCO in its twitter account delivered messages and calls “In a diverse world, tolerance is a prerequisite for peace. Every day, we have to build new bridges for tolerance, trust and understanding." Indeed, every November 16th, we are reminded of tolerance. For Indonesia, these words and actions are deeply rooted in the lives of its entire people. The Indonesian nation has become great and strong, because tolerance has been rooted and growing, not only being tolerant among religious communities, but also being tolerant among groups, ethnicities and groups.

Tolerance is the key to maintaining peace. At the 11th ASEAN-UN High Level Conference which was held virtually on November 15, 2020, President Joko Widodo encouraged the UN to maintain diversity and tolerance. He also expressed his concern about witnessing religious intolerance and violence in the name of religion amid the current pandemic. If intolerance is let to happen, it will destroy apart harmony and nourish radicalism and extremism. On that occasion, President Joko Widodo urged the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres to push the world to keep cooperating by strengthening tolerance, preventing hate speech, and rejecting violence for any reason.

The request made by President Joko Widodo is the same as what Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres expressed in his twitter account, Monday (16/11). Antonio called on the commemoration of International Tolerance Day to enhance human dignity, fight racism and foster peace in everyday life. He also expressed his strong belief that by embracing diversity and mutual respect, every nation can help solve the biggest challenges.

Maintaining tolerance must be a necessity. This was conveyed by Speaker of the House of Representatives –DPR, Bambang Soesatyo in a virtual discussion on Monday (16/11). According to Speaker Bambang, the negligence of all elements of the nation in pursuing tolerance can ignite intolerance.

Messages about the importance of maintaining values and tolerance must continue to be echoed. For the Indonesian people, the messages are deeply embedded in Pancasila. By practicing the values contained in the Pancasila, the Indonesian people interpret and practice tolerance. Tolerance is a simple word, but it has a deep and powerful meaning for maintaining peace. Everyone must tolerate others despite their different beliefs, class, ethnicity or group. As stated in the 1995 UN Declaration, tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation for the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression, and the way we are human beings.

The Indonesian nation must continue to strengthen tolerance so that intolerance does not have a place, especially in this beloved archipelago and in other countries in general.

13
November

Entering mid November 2020, it has been almost one year that Covid-19 has hit the world. How is the handling in various countries? Although there has been a decrease in the number of cases in various places, the increase is still happening. Some have even experienced a second spike after having subsided. It seems that the situation is still a cause for concern. In fact, the efforts to find  and produce the vaccine  as soon as possible are being done. This seems to go hand in hand with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in some countries.

The United States, for example, has reached the highest transmission rate, around 100,000 people infected per day since December last year. After the election of Joe Biden as President, it is suspected that a lockdown policy may soon be issued to handle the Covid-19 case whose numbers continue to rise.

In Turkey, the government issued a ban on smoking in public places, following a spike in asymptomatic cases of the Covid-19. With this ban, Turkish citizens have no reason to take off their masks while smoking in public places.

Russia seems to be a country that is quite optimistic about the handling of the Covid-19. In particular, it is related to the development of Russian vaccine findings, which is believed to play a major role in reducing, even overcoming Covid-19. However to this day, the number of cases is still quite high.

The Covid-19 pandemic that began to hit the world since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019 has brought about impacts not only on the health but also on the social and economic sectors; in fact it’s almost all lines of human life. So far, the right formula for handling the Covid-19 has not been found. The trend of transmission is still high. Thus, it is difficult to predict when the world is truly free from the Covid-19.

Vaccines have started being tested in various countries. Over time and effort, awareness of maintaining cleanliness, and a healthy lifestyle with the Covid-19 protocols have become a global lifestyle. These are the key hopes for the biggest solution to the decline in the Covid-19 numbers.

11
November

United States Presidential Election has ended and escorted Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House in Washington. Through a fierce battle, Joe Biden outperformed the incumbent Donald Trump by a significant victory in electoral votes. A number of country leaders in various regions of the world welcomed the provisional results of the United States Election by congratulating Joe Biden as the President Elect. For the Asian region, India was the first to welcome the election results. The Indian Prime Minister called it a form of the success of US immigrants from India. The mother of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, is indeed from India. In her victory speech Kamala Harris mentioned that the trust of most of the people of the United States to elect Joe Biden and herself as President and Vice President is an inspiration for America, especially the women. Kamala Harris is a woman of American immigrant descent who became the first Vice President of the United States.

Amid the euphoria and celebration on the victory, until Wednesday 11 November, Donald Trump has yet to congratulate Joe Biden. His campaign team continues to argue that the Trump camp does not recognize Joe Biden's victory and is still determined to file a lawsuit, even to the Supreme Court. What Donald Trump has done with the election process and results is considered a negative phenomenon of democracy in the big country which is often cited as an example of the implementation of democracy for others.

Congratulating the winners is a noble tradition of democracy in the US. The very significant number of electoral votes and people’s votes does not make Donald Trump change his attitude, let alone declare that he will soon leave the White House. History records that in the 2000 Election, the total votes between Al Gore and George Bush's was only slightly different, about 2000 votes in the state of Florida. But on the night after the voting and the results of the provisional count, Al Gore, who had a great chance to contest the election results, immediately delivered a speech recognizing George W Bush's victory.

What happened to the United States election and the chaos caused by Donald Trump's claims is indeed an internal US affair. For other countries, what is expected is a change in US policy in Joe Biden's future government. The trade war between the United States and China and Washington's deteriorating relations with the European Union and NATO are expected to change in the Joe Biden era. The European Union positively welcomes the election of Biden. French President Emanuelle Macron hopes that with the election results, the United States will return to the Paris Climate  agreement left by Donald Trump. Iranian leaders in Tehran hope that Biden will also change his views and policies on Iran. What still hasn't said anything is China. Even though in the Trump era, the country often clashed with the United States over various matters, from the trade war to the South China Sea issue.

It remains to be seen whether the selection of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will change the escalation of tensions in global economic and political relations.

09
November

The Central Statistics Agency noted that Indonesia's economic growth in the third quarter of 2020 contracted by minus 3.49 percent. Even though it is still contracting, this achievement is better than the position in the second quarter of 2020 which was recorded at minus 5.32 percent.

Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated on Thursday (6/11) that the achievement of economic growth in the third quarter of 2020 was quite good compared to the previous position. This shows that currently, there is a process of economic recovery and a reversal in the direction of national economic activity towards a positive direction. The improvement in economic growth is driven by fiscal stimulus or the role of the State Revenue and Expenditure Budget instrument, mainly in handling the Covid-19 pandemic and the National Economic Recovery program

In the third quarter of 2020, the absorption of state spending experienced an increase in acceleration. Until the end of September, the national economy grew 15.5 percent. The absorption of the budget was supported by the realization of social assistance and support for the business world and small and micro enterprises. Based on the Central Statistics Agency data, during this period, the government consumption grew 9.76 percent from the previous period.

What is happening now can certainly be used to improve growth in the fourth quarter. But keep in mind, this will be largely determined by current and future conditions and policies. Thereby, the government must maintain this positive trend and not be careless. Because it is possible that Indonesia will be trapped in a prolonged recession as experienced by many other countries during the pandemic. An acute recession would increase the unemployment rate which until last August alone was recorded at 9.77 million. An increase of 2.67 million compared to the same period in 2019.

It is hoped that the government will be able to put a brake on the increase in unemployment by encouraging economic growth from quarter to quarter. All components of growth both in terms of expenditure and production must move up.

The government has said that it will continue to accelerate the Covid-19 handling program and the absorption of the National Economic Recovery budget, which amounts to Rp 695 trillion. However, until early November, the budget that had been used was only around 54 percent. This means that efforts are still needed to encourage budget absorption so that the growth trend can be maintained or even increased.

 

06
November

The World is waiting for the final vote count results for the United States Election. The Incumbent, President Donald Trump, said that if only legal votes were counted, he  would easily win. Even without evidence, Trump and his campaign team have claimed fraud in the election and wanted  to stop vote counting in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan.

In fact, in the weeks leading up to the election, Donald Trump has stated that if the vote gap in the Presidential Election is slim, he will accuse his Democratic opponent of election rigging and trying to steal victory from him.

Democrats and even some of the president's supporters responded immediately. Donald Trump's accusation of cheating in the 2020 US election is considered to have hurt the trust of citizens. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors elections in western countries and the former Soviet Union, has found no evidence of fraud.

The transition of power is a transition mandated by the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution and the United States' most important democratic tradition. Constitutional and election experts argue that a president cannot ignore election results and retain power. Trump has not stated his stance on whether to accept the election results or not.

US election officials in states that are major battlefields of the two camps warned vote counting would take longer as many voted via mail due to the pandemic.

If usually the results of the presidential election can be known directly on the night after the election, this time it looks a little different. The existence of a pandemic and claims of fraud by Trump's side mean that the election results cannot be immediately known for sure. The waiting period will be a tense day, not only for the US but for the world.

03
November

Handling the Covid-19 Pandemic for Indonesia's Economic Recovery - Editorial                                                                                                                         Global Busines guide Indonesia

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo reminded again his ministers to remain focused on managing and maintaining a balance between coping with health and economic recovery. This was conveyed during a briefing at the Plenary Cabinet Session at the State Palace in Jakarta, Monday (2/11). Indeep, he has conveyed this to his aides many times.

Two focuses are presented: addressing health and economic recovery. In handling health, especially handling the Covid-19 pandemic, Indonesia is still struggling to reduce the number of active cases. As of November 1, 2020, Indonesia's active cases of Covid-19 were 13.78 percent, the world average of active cases was 25.22 percent. President Joko Widodo also instructed that active cases should be continuously suppressed and minimized.


President Joko Widodo's request is certainly very 
appropriate, considering that several countries in Europe are currently facing a second wave of Covid-19 attacks. The increase in cases was drastic. Indonesia must not be complacent and must increase its control so that active cases can be continuously suppressed, as well as to suppress the emergence of possible second wave.


The second focus emphasized by President Joko Widodo is economic recovery. As experienced by other countries, Indonesia is also struggling to increase economic growth. In the second quarter, Indonesia's economic growth was at minus 5.32%. Although it was still minus in the third quarter, the minus 
was only 3 percent. It is expected that it will continue to rise in the fourth quarter. President Joko Widodo warned that the fourth quarter is very important to improve. The hope can go into the positive. Thereby, President Joko Widodo asked for state and government spending to be implemented at the beginning of the year. Thus, the increase in the fourth quarter does not fall at the beginning of the year.


All stakeholders must take 
immediate and appropriate steps. The real action of all parties to jointly fight the Covid-19 pandemic, to reduce its spread and to break the chain of its spread must be increased. Hopefully, vaccinations can also be carried out according to schedule. Because of this, all related stakeholders and the public have to contribute greatly to the economic recovery and economic growth of Indonesia.

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