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Jakarta Post

‘Our country is at war’: Education Minister Nadiem Makarim calls on students to join fight against COVID-19

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 26, 2020   /   04:40 pm
‘Our country is at war’: Education Minister Nadiem Makarim calls on students to join fight against COVID-19 Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim makes a gesture of thanks after the announcement of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet on Oct. 23, 2019. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim is calling on the general public and university students across the country to join efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our country is currently at ‘war’ against an invisible enemy that is moving fast and threatening human lives. Therefore, I’m asking all people to join the fight to defeat this enemy,” Nadiem said during a video conference with student volunteers on COVID-19 matters in Jakarta on Thursday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

The student volunteers would be assigned to various tasks involved with preventing and managing the disease.

Read also: Education minister Nadiem Makarim calls on people to stay at home

The minister said he “felt touched” after hearing that about 15,000 student volunteers were signing up for the program. “I highly appreciate it,” he said.

Apart from mobilizing university students, the ministry also took other measures regarding COVID-19, including preparing laboratories to test more samples from people suspected of contracting COVID-19 and turning some of its facilities into isolation wards.

“There are currently 13 medical schools and 13 educational hospitals appointed by the Health Ministry to be COVID-19 test labs,” the minister said. He added that the lack of extensive and systematic testing to screen for the disease would allow the virus to spread uncontrollably.

He said his ministry had also prepared an educational hospital to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients.

Read also: Indonesia scraps national exams due to COVID-19

The ministry is also planning to use dormitories owned by the Education Quality Assurance Agency and the Educators Development and Empowerment Center as isolation wards for patients under surveillance and general monitoring for COVID-19. Such facilities have a total capacity of 18,000 beds.

To help curb COVID-19 transmission, Nadiem had issued a ministerial regulation on Tuesday canceling national exams and prohibiting any form of examination that would require students to gather. (aly)