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Supporting the Development of Curricula for Nuclear Science Students in Indonesia


Each year, more than 100 students graduate as certified experts of nuclear chemistry and nuclear physics from the Polytechnic Institute of Nuclear Technology (PoINT), Indonesia’s only secondary education institution offering specialized bachelor’s degrees in nuclear science. (Photo: BATAN)

Experts at Indonesia’s Polytechnic Institute of Nuclear Technology (PoINT) in Yogyakarta will begin drafting a new curriculum for the Nuclear Teaching Industry, as well as a new Student Internship Programme, in order to ensure that the country’s higher education system trains and prepares the professionals the industry needs. Established in 2001, PoINT in Yogyakarta is the only institution of higher education in Indonesia that provides applied bachelor’s degrees in nuclear science and technology. IAEA experts advised the Institute earlier this year on further improving its nuclear curriculum.

After specializing in one of two majors available—nuclear chemistry and nuclear physics—about 100 students graduate from PoINT each year, and some of them move onto careers with Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) and its Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN),  or with the Department of Health, supporting the safe application of life-saving interventions at a national hospital or clinic. Some land jobs in the private sector in nuclear related fields.

Indonesia’s Mid-term National Strategic Plan includes a goal to accelerate and strengthen the link between education and employment by enhancing cooperation between vocational colleges, universities and industry. “As the only nuclear vocational education institution in Indonesia, the Polytechnic Institute of Nuclear Technology also needs to develop an industry-based curriculum, especially for the nuclear industry, as already stated in the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan of Polytechnic Institute of Nuclear Technology,” said Edy Giri Rachman Putra, a researcher at BATAN and the former Director of PoINT from 2016 to 2021.

To help improve the quality and specificity of the Institute’s nuclear curriculum, IAEA experts focused their advice on the establishment of educational standards, strengthening existing laboratory resources and increasing the relevance of course syllabi to practical applications. The IAEA advisory team included experts from the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), the oldest technical university in Russia east of the Urals. Infrastructure, laboratories, human resources, management and educational standards, distribution and alumni employment, industrial cooperation and current and proposed curricula were reviewed.

"This review [by the IAEA] is very useful for our long-term plans to develop PoINT into a global vocational higher education establishment in nuclear science and technology and provided the opportunity for PoINT to review and strengthen its curriculum according to international standards," said Rachman Putra of BATAN, who coordinated the review process by the IAEA. “We benefit from having world-leading experts to look at how we provide higher education in nuclear fields, and their experiences.”

“The exchanges and interactions were facilitated by the similarity of the bachelor’s programmes at TPU and at PoINT, as well as the rough equivalence of their facilities and laboratories, and the size of their student body,” said Vera Verkhoturova, Deputy Director of TPU’s international nuclear educational programmes.

Among other recommendations, the international experts identified the need to initiate communication and consultations with both nuclear industry focal-points and the Institute’s alumni, to ensure the quality of the new, proposed industry-based curriculum.

The experts also had the opportunity to give presentations and information related to nuclear science and technology education in Russia for PoINT students and alumni. Indonesian students were eager to learn more about nuclear science and technology and how it can be applied to address development challenges.

In the coming months, experts at PoINT will begin developing a new, draft curriculum for the Nuclear Teaching Industry, as well as a new Student Internship Program and Quality Assurance Regulations, in regular consultation with counterparts at TPU. A follow-up virtual consultation is planned for October 2021 to review and finalise the curriculum and agree on a plan for its implementation.

In 2020, the IAEA launched a series of activities under a national technical cooperation (TC) project[1] to help develop improved human resources for the planning, implementation and evaluation of nuclear applications in Indonesia. The project builds on earlier support provided by the IAEA for BATAN’s training programme.

[1] INS0020, “Supporting Comprehensive Capacity Building of National Nuclear Institutions to Support the Nuclear Industry and Stakeholder Utilization of Nuclear Technology”

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