Every challenge poses a new opportunity.

The COVID-19 pandemic is reinforcing the importance of communication and learning beyond borders. Schools and universities across the globe are holding courses virtually as a way to sustain learning process with safety protocols. The SDG Academy Indonesia is riding the wave of this “new normal” as it adopts virtual learning for all classes amid the pandemic.

When the SDG Academy was designed in 2018, it was meant to use a combination of online classes and face to face interaction, but the Pandemic has shifted the Academy’s strategy to ramp up its digital platform. The decision focus on online courses was reached last week during the Second Board Meeting of the SDG Academy which saw stronger commitment by the Board to meet the 2030 Agenda.

“I remember the aspirations and ambitions during the soft-launch of this initiative last year and I’m pleased that despite very challenging circumstances, preparations are being made to keep moving forward. At a time when there are concerns about the many gains in achieving the SDGs in Indonesia, it is heartening to note that there is still a platform for informing stakeholders about our goals,” said Sophie Kemkadzhe, Resident Representative a.i., during the Meeting which was also attended by the Global CEO of Tanoto Foundation, J. Satrijo Tanudjojo, the Head of National SDGs Secretariat from Bappenas, Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, and the executive team.

Digital advancement and innovative learning.

The Academy is a collaborative initiative between UNDP Indonesia, Tanoto Foundation, and the Ministry of National Planning Development (Bappenas) to provide innovative capacity building programs for state and non-state leaders towards localization of SDGs through three main initiatives: SDG Leadership Certification Program, SDG Mobile Learning, and SDG Study Abroad.

The SDG Leadership Certification Program offers three components; a Leadership and management course, an SDG specific topic course and a Capstone project, for a total duration of five months. Participants choose from six topics: Poverty Reduction, Quality Education, Human Resources Employability, Natural Resource Management, Waste Management and Violence Against Women and Children. The Capstone project will allow participants to conduct their individual personal project related to leadership or a special topic.

The online module is self-paced and participants will have six months to complete one module. Initially 12 MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) modules will be offered, with six topics as per certification program and another six other modules: Health Services, Investment, Pollution, and Critical Land Management modules, and Good Governance, and Social Diversity/ Multiculturalism.

The Study abroad program is a certification program partly conducted at foreign institutions. Currently, SDG Academy is delaying the implementation of this program due to the pandemic.

Partnerships for the goals

Committed to bringing about a high-quality learning program for Indonesia’s SDG stakeholders, the Academy has engaged numerous partners. The University of Indonesia is engaged in developing the curriculum and learning materials. Ruang Guru, which specializes in providing online learning materials, will digitize the content, which will be stored and managed in the Academy’s Learning Management System -developed by Cybercomb – a company specializing in e-learning systems.

The SDG Academy has also engaged numerous external partners – government ministries, think tank organizations, NGOs and UN agencies to review the curriculum and learning materials, as well as its digital form. One national and one international expert on SDGs and curriculum development have also been engaged to provide expert opinion on the materials. New materials will be produced over the next two years.

SDG Academy will take full advantage of its e-learning system in facilitating knowledge exchange and knowledge sharing among different levels and different regions, by documenting and managing success stories from around the country.

The Head of the National SDGs Secretariat, Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, said “SDG Academy Indonesia is a good example of the collaboration among stakeholders. The effort to build capacity for SDGs extends beyond government to working with philanthropy and development partners.”

Coming soon! MOOC launch and the first batch of leadership certification

SDG Academy plans to launch its Mobile Learning Program in December 2020 offering the 12 MOOC modules.

“Tanoto Foundation has also transformed most of all activities online at all levels and I like that SDG Mobile Learning will begin first.” said J. Satrijo Tanudjojo, the Global CEO of Tanoto Foundation who also agreed to the proposed plan.

SDG Leadership Certification will start early next year. In anticipation of an extended pandemic period, protocols will be developed for the offline portion of the learning sessions. The first batch of participants will consist of national and sub national governments, the private sector and philanthropy, NGOs and media, and academia.

As the world kicks of its 10 year countdown to meet the Global Goals Agenda, it is imperative that Indonesia SDG stakeholders have the capacity to bounce back from the crisis and fast-track the SDGs achievement.

Indeed, going digital is the way forward for the Academy, it’s a new opportunity that shows the agility of the Academy to meet the 2030 Agenda.


Writing by Juliaty Sopacua, UNDP Indonesia SDGs Advisor / Director of SDG Academy Indonesia

Edited by Ranjit Jose and Tomi Soetjipto

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