By Dr. Djuwari
STIE Perbanas (College of Economics and Business)
Recently, there have been some natural disasters for example in Philippines and Indonesia. It can be earthquakes, typhoons, floods or tsunami. Such natural disasters have affected the countries and their people, with some miserable experiences. When we ponder these disasters, we can think what we can do, especially the youth or young people. This topic makes me remember the fact concerning the youth’s perception towards the disasters in their environment.
I was so shocked when I noticed the fact that most of young people are ignorant of their environment. It was the time when I presented a research paper in the ASHAIL conference held in October 2006 in Jakarta. It was twelve years ago. The research paper I presented was on the perception of the students of universities towards the disaster in their environment, with the sample only the students in one of the universities in my city, Surabaya.
The fact was that most of the students were ignorant of their environment especially toward the disaster. The conference was held after the earthquake, killing thousands of people, happened in North Sumatra Island, Indonesia in 2004. Thus, two years after the devastating tragedy in Indonesia, in which the nation was in miserable condition after that.
Since the conference which was held had the theme of Disaster management, I was inspired directly by that tragedy and conducted a quick research using the survey. Unfortunately, most of the students were so busy with their tasks dealing with their study. Many of them were burdened by their duties related to doing some assignments and keeping their academic performance in a higher achievement.
Due to such a condition, they were so preoccupied with academic activities so that it created another impact that was on their less concern about the disaster in their environment. Besides that, they said that they didn’t know what to do when there was disaster such as earthquake, tsunami, typhoon, floods, and the like.
The condition above indicates that in universities—with young people as their students—need to consider the strategy in their whole curriculum. This curriculum should be related to the skill and knowledge dealing with disaster management. For example, the materials can be inserted in their extra curricular so that they can be introduced to the management of disaster.
So far, there has no discussion focusing on this critical problem. The government and the people can also work together discussing the strategy of disaster management in the university curriculum. Since, Indonesia and other countries in ASEAN, especially with Philippines have the same characteristics in their nature, such discussion appears important.
The governments of ASEAN member countries can initiate the program dealing with the disaster management for young people. It can start from the universities because these institutions are in fact the place of young people with the same ages. They can be empowered in the mobilization facing the disasters that may happen in their countries.
It is imperative for the governments of the countries—where the nature is apt to experience natural disasters—to have the same program in managing the disasters in their environments. Based on the fact, it is difficult to have all young people (the youth) involved in handling the disasters in their environment.
The problem can also be due to the ignorance of the government of a country to deal with the curriculum in universities related to disaster management. Therefore, the materials of disaster management can now be considered and included in the extra curriculum. Without planning strategically, the ignorance of the youth toward their environment will be the symptom of the more dangerous impact on the nation.
DR. Djuwari is the director of Language Laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, and he had joined the international conference on Disaster Management held in October, in Jakarta, 2006, twelve years ago.