The concepts of globalization and free market have been saturating discussions in the academic sphere in Indonesia for more than two decades. Whilst they were quite frequently employed in many pedagogy-related talks, articles, and books in the past, they seemed to possess menial demand to warrant immediate answers regarding an unprecedented increase of the level of competition in the job market for local skilled-workers—one of the contexts in which they were often discussed. In the past, the challenges faced by job seekers were not directly presented by the realization of the two concepts in their full manifestation. There was (and still is) no total eradication of national laws that established a protection for local workers from a situation in which their ability to compete would be significantly reduced due to the introduction of foreign workers from economically developed countries that provided a relatively higher quality of training and education for their workers.
This is not to say that there was no urgency in addressing and anticipating future challenges that might be put forward by the two concepts. The problem was that their mentions in many discussions were, most of the time, mere obligatory, rendering the facts about their gradual implementation and effects unable to register to people’s consciousness in a more impactful manner. Combined with the unlikeliness of developing countries, or any country, to implement revolutionary deregulation that mimicked the ideal borderless economic system of free market for international skilled-workers, the insistent talks about globalization and free market in terms of competition in the job market appeared to be hyperbolic and lost any impression of relevance or urgency they might have once had, resulting in the superficial understanding concerning their magnitude. The latest report from Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) that describes the disconcerting state of our education system could, in parts, be attributed to the little to almost nonexistent effects produced by the overall tone in which the concepts were regularly discussed.
However, much has transformed in the past five or so years. It has been proven that the relevance of both concepts could not be overstated. With the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, known as Masyarakat Ekonomi ASEAN (MEA) to Indonesian people, the capitalists’ heaven of globalization and free market has never been closer to see the light of day. Thus, the perfunctory attitude toward the sheer implications of both concepts was in need of substantial adjustment. Even though the results do not necessarily mirror it, the introduction of several new regulations in education system could be seen as the reflection of the effort to shift the less than ideal attitude.
As a part of education institution that seeks to improve the state of Indonesia’s education quality, English Department of Dharma Andalas University (UNIDHA) organized a curriculum workshop for its teaching staff. The event was held on December 19th 2018 at UNIDHA’s video conference room with Dr. Ike Revita, M.Hum, one of English Department lecturer in UNAND and an expert on curriculum development, as the speaker. With this event, it is hoped that the participants will be well-prepared and well-aided in developing a curriculum that provides the students with theoretical knowledge and the knowledge of its practical application in the real world. This indicates that the students will be able to aptly answer the challenges as well as opportunities produced by globalization and free market—or at least their early manifestations—along with the rapid technological changes that act as the core of the latest industrial revolution (4.0) which has restructured our world and how we conduct ourselves culturally, socially, and economically.