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Jakarta Post

Ruangguru removes journalism course from preemployment card program

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 5, 2020   /   05:17 pm
Ruangguru removes journalism course from preemployment card program Logo of ruangguru.com (tempo.co/File)

Online education platform Ruangguru, whose subsidiary Skill Academy has partnered with the government in the preemployment card program, removed a journalism course from the program on Saturday following a request from the course’s creator.

On Friday, television journalist and tutor Prita Kusumaputri publicly called on Skill Academy to exclude her course from the package designed for preemployment card beneficiaries as she believed her course was not what people needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The demand was made following public scrutiny over the course as another journalist, Agustinus Edy Kristianto, criticized Skill Academy for easily issuing a certificate for the course, even without supervision from any accountable journalism institution or the Press Council.

She also objected that the platform put her course into the program without her permission, saying that they initially agreed to create the course for a different paid program.

Ruangguru spokesperson Sekar Krisnauli later explained that ever since the platform collaborated with Prita in 2019, Skill Academy has held the copyright of the content Prita created.

“Both parties signed the agreement at the beginning of the collaboration,” Sekar told The Jakarta Post.

Ruangguru nevertheless decided to acquiesce to Prita’s request. 

Read also: Preemployment card draws criticism as workers ‘need cash aid’

“We understand the public attention that she might get [following the criticism],” Sekar said, without responding further to Prita’s argument that the course was not suitable for the preemployment card program.

Ruangguru has also been under scrutiny for its participation in the government program due its co-founder and CEO Adamas Belva Syah Devara holding a position as an expert staffer to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Belva has since resigned from the staffer position following accusations of a conflict of interest. 

The government has allocated Rp 20 trillion (US$1.32 million) to cover around 5.6 million people in the program, which has partnered with eight online platforms including Skill Academy, Tokopedia, Bukalapak and Sisnaker. 

Each participant will receive Rp 1 million to cover the online training costs, Rp 2.4 million in incentives for four months, which will only be disbursed if a participant completes a course and another Rp 150,000 if they complete a job survey.

The preemployment card program was initially created by the Jokowi administration to teach new skills to the workforce to keep up with the ever-changing digital economy and combat job loss as a result of automation, but has been retargeted to help those who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.