The Jakarta Post
As many as 224 students from 31 state and private universities across Indonesia are to join the first-ever national community service program (KKN Kebangsaan) in Bantaeng regency, South Sulawesi, scheduled for Oct. 28 to Nov. 30.
Hasrullah, head of the Hasanuddin University's KKN program center in Makassar, said that the one-month community service program had been initiated by three universities, namely Hasanuddin University, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta and Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra.
'We want to unite university students from all across Indonesia. We consider the KKN is the right medium to do so, while at the same time also encouraging students to get closer to communities, especially those in rural areas,' Hasrullah said on Friday.
He said university students were community members that were still pure and not yet contaminated by political practices; the same as people in rural areas.
Through the KKN program, the students are expected to share their knowledge and help local people to improve their lives and motivate them toward self-development.
'The students, likewise, can also learn from the people they work with, especially in rural areas,' Hasrullah said.
Bantaeng was chosen as the site for the first KKN Kebangsaan program, according to Hasrullah, because the regency was considered the best-prepared region.
This is no surprising, as Bantaeng Regent Nurdin Abdullah is a professor and former KKN supervisor at Hasanuddin University.
The 224 participating students will be placed in local people's homes in three districts across the regency, namely Ermerasa, Uluere and Pajukukang.
The participants will take part in five programs: food security development, health services, residential housing improvement, reforestation and education on nationalism.
Before officially being deployed to their respective KKN sites, all the participating students joined a two-day briefing on Friday and Saturday at the auditorium in Hasanuddin University's training hospital.
During the briefing, the students were given insights from reliable sources including Youth and Sport Minister Roy Suryo and South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo.
More briefings will also be given to the students during the duration of the KKN program from a number of national figures, including Paramadina University Rector Anies Baswedan and higher education inspector general Haryono Umar.
Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh is scheduled to officially send the students to their KKN sites on Saturday.