Higher Education in the Ascendancy of Industrial Revolution 4.0
Mon, 31 Dec 2018 || By Muhammad Rasyid Ridho

Industrial Revolution 4.0 emerges as a new and significant force that shape many aspects in human life. Education is one aspect that cannot be exempted from it. The very existence of physical space and interactions between students and teacher are the essential characteristics that persist in how education is still conducted until this day. With the emergence of Industrial Revolution 4.0, it creates a discourse whether those general characteristics will be eroded with it or not. To give a better insight on this issue, below are several representative questions related to higher education dynamics and its relation with Industrial Revolution 4.0.

What are the consequences of Industrial Revolution 4.0 of higher education in general?

Many points are related to the impact of digitalization since it is one force that constitutes the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Several changes appear on the surface, and one of them is the usage of digital literature as the reference. The number of educational e-book publishing revenue reached $14.55 billion in 2016 worldwide[1].At the end of 2018 e-book sales is forecasted that it will reach a quarter of global book sales and its consumers will provide nearly 20 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2018[2]. E-books are increasing in demand since it provides portability, cheaper than its hardcopy version, easy to navigate, and its eco-friendly nature as it does not use paper.

The other aspects are digital classes (mostly online learning) which successfully make its breakthrough to substitute or complement the conventional class. In addition to it, several media supported the digital class is already utilized in other places. For instance, there was an experiment in Spain on the usage of a podcast in learning activities.[3] It varies from digital audio to video which is distributed on the internet and later it will be linked to the RSS feeds. Meanwhile, in the United States MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has established in 2012 by two start-ups Coursera and Udacity. Institutions such as Harvard and MIT quickly started to adopt it[4]. Besides, there is a slight change of the lecturer/teacher role in class.  Based on an experiment in Norway, the general private-based lecturer’s feedback slowly transforms into public-based feedbacks, since the digital platform allows all the department lectures can comment on the available subjects[5]

However, this advancement also comes with some problems. The most prominent issue is that digital exclusion might be unavoidable and thus, this issue is believed as the barrier to integrate and adopt educational technology.[6] As economic gap exists in the society, there is also a considerable gap in accessing to information and communication tools (ICT) to access to information and communication tools (ICT) –and the unnecessary usage of ICT as an internalised norm.[7]

How does the Indonesian Government respond to this new dynamics?

Kemristekdikti is taking several steps to adapt to the dynamics of Industrial Revolution 4.0. First, concerning the digitalization issue, they are still in progress to conduct the online learning or pendidikan jarak jauh in order to increase the participation rate which is still low at the level of 31.5%.[8] Second, Kemristekdikti abolished 20 unnecessary regulations regarding higher education in order to stop the limitations of opening study programs.[9] Third, the shifting focus of Kemristekdikti to strengthen the vocational schools. It is going to be manifested in the form of easier authorization to establish more schools. The strategy aims to reduce the high cost of the establishment and to increase the number of vocational schools. To date, the number of vocational schools is still lower than the university. Besides, a significant revitalization has been in effect since 2017 which concentrate on “3+2+1” program.[10] It refers to the curriculum which regulates the students to spend three semesters on campus, two semesters in the respective industry, and the last year in campus or industry.[11]Besides, the practical aspect in these schools is heavily emphasized to produce graduates who have desired competencies in the job market.

In Education World Forum January 2018, Kemenristekdikti presented the newly adopted strategy. The strategy is actually a development of the previous strategy. One of its essential points is the promulgation of the National Master Plan (2017-2045). It include several fields: (1) Agriculture and food; (2) Energy, new and renewable energy; (3) Health and Medicine; (4) Information and Communication; (5) transportations; (6) defence and security; (7) advance material, i.e nanotechnology; (8) Maritime; (9) Disasters managements; (10) social-cultural and education.[12]

Another prominent concept introduced by Kemenristekdikti is new literation. There are three cores of this concept, which are data literation, technology literation, and human literacy includes leadership, teamwork, cultural agility, and entrepreneurship. [13]


What should higher educational institutions do to adapt to Industrial Revolution 4.0?

The essential point that higher educational institutions should address is to adjust its curriculum to qualify the students with compatible skills which are required in this modern industrial environment. The skills, including, but not limited to creativity, entrepreneurial thinking, problem & conflict solving, decision making, analytical skill, research skill, and efficiency orientation.[14]

Bo Xing’s findings serve as a more compact and representative strategy that university could adopt. His findings are actually in line with what Lapteva and Efimov called as University 4.0[15]. Several spheres may be taken into account. First, teaching sphere encompasses the inclusion of wearable gadget, adoption massive open online courses (MOOCs), cultivation of innovative talent, blended learning (mixing e-learning and conventional method).[16]

Second, in terms of research, the university will be benefitted from open innovation and new technological advancement-driven research and development. In this context, open innovation more likely to create problem-solving models which combine the ability of human cognitive and machine-based computing. [17]

Third, in the service sphere, a university should adopt the paradigm of education as a service.[18] It means a university must be effectively delivering education in this disruptive era. Besides, it may operate in a platform-based form like those in a business area. The key to the university as a platform can be ensured by the application of aspects in the teaching sphere and the usage of current digital infrastructure.[19] Moreover, international linkages between local and foreign university may bring a transfer of knowledge in order to adapt to global competition.

Read another article written by Muhammad Rasyid Ridho

Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani


[1]Hendricks, D. (2017). Why Digital Publishing is the Future of Education: Edtech is saving time for students and teachers. [online] Inc.com. Available at: https://www.inc.com/drew-hendricks/why-digital-publishing-is-the-future-of-education.html [Accessed 8 December 2018]

[2]Raj, R. (2018). Future of Higher Education – Digital Textbooks and Courses. [online] Magicbox. Available at: https://www.getmagicbox.com/blog/future-of-higher-education-digital-textbooks-and-courses/ [Accessed 8 December 2018]

[3]Torres, J.M.T. (2011).The Use of Podcasts in Higher Education: Communication, Innovation, Education and Knowledge ManagementRusc.  8(2), pp. 225-240.

[4] McPherson, M. S. dan Bacow, L. S. (2015). Online higher education: Beyond the hype cycle. [online] The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 29(4), pp. 135-154.

[5] Wake, J. D., Dysthe, O., &Mjelstad, S. (2007). New and Changing Teacher Roles in Higher Education in a Digital Age. Educational Technology & Society, 10 (1), 40-51.


[8]Syawaluddin, F. A. (2018). Rendahnya Angka Partisipasi Kasar Pendidikan Tinggi. [online] Geotimes. Available at:https://geotimes.co.id/opini/rendahnya-angka-partisipasi-kasar-pendidikan-tinggi/ [Accessed 7 December 2018].

[9]Yunelia, I. (2018). Sederhanakan Regulasi Hadapi Revolusi Industri 4.0 Kemenristekdikti Cabut 20 Peraturan yang Tidak Relevan. [online] Metro TV News. Available at: http://news.metrotvnews.com/peristiwa/GKdWj6mk-kemenristekdikti-cabut-20-peraturan-yang-tidak-relevan [Accessed 7 December 2018].

[10]Bagus. (tanpa tahun) Revitalisasi Pendidikan Tinggi Vokasi, NantiLebih Banyak Praktik. [online] Direktorat Jenderal Kelembagaan Iptek dan Dikti. Available at: http://kelembagaan.ristekdikti.go.id/index.php/2016/10/25/revitalisasi-pendidikan-tinggi-vokasi-akan-lebih-banyak-praktik/ [Accessed 7 December 2018].


[12]Nasir, Muhammad. (2018). Policy for Curriculum and Competencies in the 4th Industrial Revolution(4-IR). In: Education World Forum. [online] London: Education World Forum, pp. 1-32. Available at: https://www.theewf.org/uploads/pdf/D1-16.00-HE-Dr-Mohamad-Nasir.pdf [Accessed 8 December 2018].

[13] Ibid.

[14]Grzybowska, K. andAnna, L. (2017). Key Managerial Competencies for Industry 4.0-Practitioners’, Researchers' and Students' Opinions. Logistics and Transport. 30(3), pp. 39-46.

[15]Laptevа, A. V.And  Efimov, V. S.New Generation of Universities: University 4.0.  Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social Sciences. 11(2016 9), pp. 2681-2696.

[16] Xing, B. and Marwala, T. (2017). Implications of the Fourth Industrial Age on Higher Education. arXiv preprint arXiv: 1703.09643.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.