Author: Disa Kamila Sakhi
In this day and age, mastering English is one of the keys to innovate and compete on a global scale, contributing to Indonesia’s progress. English language skills in Indonesia have had an impact on global qualification competency standards, including human resource development. Indonesian human resources (HR) refer to the “English Proficiency Index”, Indonesia is still relatively low because in 2020 it is only able to rank 74; while other ASEAN countries like Singapore are in 10th position, Philippines is in 27th position, and Malaysia is in 30th position. “The 74th position is categorized as having very low English language skills” (Fattihassalam, 2021). The low awareness of the importance of English language education in Indonesia occurs due to several factors, including the inequality factor in education issues in Indonesia. I agree that the presence of digital technology can help improve English language skills and have an impact on increasing literacy interest.
First of all, it is worth considering the issue of inequality in Indonesia’s national education. Inequality in education exists between the village and in the city. Education in the city has more access to existing information, and there is sufficient internet.
Meanwhile, “in the village, there is a commitment to obtain education even though they rarely get information about current events”. (Anas, 2015). This indicates that there are complex problems in the issue of inequality in national education such as the quality of education, equitable distribution of infrastructure facilities, problems with access to education, low quality of teachers, and the high cost of education. Indonesia as an archipelagic country causes uneven distribution of information technology services to remote areas. This illustrates the awareness that providing access to education is something that needs to be considered for all parties to reduce educational inequality by spreading digital literacy.
Digital literacy is having the skills you need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information are increasingly through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices. You’ll also need practical skills in using technology to access, manage, manipulate and create information in an ethical and sustainable way. It’s a continual learning process because of constant new apps and updates, but your future self will thank you if you keep your digital life in order! Digital literacy is an ever more important factor in education from a young age. Digital literacy in education, students must develop specific digital literacy skills when reading and interacting with online content that may contain embedded resources such as hyperlinks, audio clips, graphs, or charts that require students to make choices. Students today are also being asked to go one step further to create, collaborate, and share digital content and to do so responsibly.
As is known, in 2020 Kominfo and Katadata will conduct a national digital literacy survey. Research has found that Indonesia’s digital literacy index is at 3.47 in the medium category. The Ministry of Communication and Information noted that the realization of the national digital literacy program has only reached 26.4% of the total target of 12.4 million participants every year. Seeing this happening, the national digital literacy program became one of the agendas launched by President Joko Widodo on May 20, 2021, which currently has reached 3,284,608 participants in 34 provinces and 454 city districts. Thus, it is hoped that at least 50 million Indonesians will be digitally literate by 2024.
This is where digital literacy should play an important role in expression for its users. “Digital literacy is not just for students and educators. We all live and work in digital networks,” argues Dr Kelly Page, who stressed the importance of English digital literacy gained through technology especially in the world of education, one of which is English literacy through the use of technology.
Nurhilmiyah claims that there are at least five reasons why you need to master English to improve your digital literacy skills. Firstly, English can expand our network around the globe. We will have access to a wealth of information compared to if we were searching the internet in Indonesian. We will also get information from original or credible sources that are official from the institution, so the validity of the information does not need to be doubted.
Secondly, the existence of an English reference source as a reinforcement of Indonesian literacy can be interpreted that by using English reference sources, the sources we use become stronger. Good reference sources and have high validity are usually English-language sources, this is because Indonesian sources are still not recognized internationally. Reference sources that have high validity and are internationally recognized in English. By utilizing English-language reference sources, this is in strengthening Indonesian-language literacy works, which have not yet been recognized for their international validity. (Nugroho, 2016)
Thirdly, people who can understand English can anticipate the misuse of personal data in various applications or websites on the internet. Terms & Conditions in various applications or websites on the Internet are in English and there is no Indonesian version.
Fourthly, to dealing with contracts in creating an account, the use of English is also useful to prevent us from being trapped in spam emails or account hacking. Information on how to protect accounts and personal data like this is also often in English.
Fifthly, the literacy and English framework promote the development of critical and creative thinking as well as competence in listening and talking, reading, and writing in using technology.
Recognizing the benefits of mastering English that can improve digital literacy, there are several ways to take advantage of digital devices that can help us use language better in our studies. With the use of technology, young people can be directed to learn English through digital applications. Because there are many supporting applications in learning, in particular, Duolingo, Cake, Busuu, Memrise and so on. The application provides access and complete English language material, making it easy for everyone to reach. By doing learning activities through digital applications, the school or teacher can already implement digital literacy activities.
The importance of writing skills is a massive part of our studies. Through applications and websites on the internet, anyone can access an online platform called Wattpad to write their stories. That way, they can learn to compose good and correct English sentences. Moreover, this writing ability can be a writing competition event at school. Young people will be motivated to write.
Digital communication is the process of exchanging information between two or more devices that involves sending and receiving data. The form of communication that should be done by young people is to send messages via email. Rapid technological developments make us have to be able to master email messages to be sent to job applications. Therefore, understanding English is the capital to be able to write emails when working in international companies, studying abroad, or just contacting foreign friends.
To be able to write correctly, we have to check the English sentences by using a spell check tool and grammar checker. The spell-check tool that features in many websites and word-processing applications is really useful. Spell checkers usually have dictionaries for British and American English so make sure we have the right one selected. While the grammar checker feature is often built into computers, smartphones and word processing software. Grammar checkers do sometimes get it wrong, so we may have to check in a grammar book or a grammar website.
The use of the application of English opens the way for increasing digital literacy. This is because mastering English can expand network connections throughout the world. English language skills have an impact on competency standards in global qualifications. In this sense, English in digital literacy helps improve the quality of national education. That way, Indonesian people, especially young people, can interact in the digital world and identify information rationally.
Saya generasi muda yang peduli literasi! Artikel ini ditulis sebagai bentuk serta EF Literacy Day Competition 2021: https://www.ef.co.id/writing-competition.
BBC Learning English. “Digital Literacy – English for study”. Youtube video, 5.15. November 3, 2017. https://youtu.be/eciHuLO8kD4
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Fatihassalam, Thoriq. “Difficulty of Learning English in Indonesia”, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), 2021. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351840000_Difficulty_of_Learning_English_in_Indonesia.
Nugroho, Rudi W. “PEMANFAATAN PENERAPAN BAHASA ASING SEBAGAI PENGUAT LITERASI BAHASA INDONESIA.” INA-Rxiv, 8 Jan. 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.31227/osf.io/3ygm7
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Rizkinaswara, Leski “Ada 37 Juta Pengguna Internet Baru, Penting Pahami Literasi Digital”, Kementrian Komunikasi dan Informatika RI, 3 May. 2021.
“What is Digital Literacy?” twinkl.co.id. https://www.twinkl.co.id/teaching-wiki/digital-literacy
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