By Nika Sharif
On February 21st a high-ranking Indonesian delegation headed by the Chief Justice of the Indonesian Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung) Dr. Hatta Ali visited the Training and Study Center for the Judiciary (SSR) in Utrecht. This marked the first visit of Dr. Hatta Ali to the Netherlands after his appointment/re-election as the Chief Justice of Mahkamah Agung (MA) to lead the judiciary for another five year term ending in 2022. His appointment is a very positive development for the Indonesian Supreme Court as well as the Judicial Sector Support Programme (JSSP) to sustain continued support for the project implementation. Dr. Hatta Ali was accompanied by a number of deputy presidents and justices of the Supreme Court, as well as the court’s registrar, the director of the Training Center of the Supreme Court and four members of the Judicial Reform Team of the Indonesian Supreme Court.
The visit to the SSR was organised as a follow up to SSR’s support to the Judicial Training Center (JTC) for organisational development. In 2014 SSR carried out an organisational assessment for its Indonesian counterpart JTC to determine the needs of the training institute and the assistance that can be provided by SSR. Following this assessment report SSR continued supporting JTC to carry out activities on five themes that were selected from 27 recommendations identified in the organisational assessment report.
The visit of the MA delegation mainly focused on the sustainable added-value of and the need for digitalisation and automatisation to boost the use of e-learning. The main goal is to further expand JTC training to other parts of the country through distance learning in order to make education available for more judges and judicial staff in Indonesia. SSR’s director Tonnie Hulman and the head of ICT gave a presentation on this topic. During this interactive and interesting session, the MA delegation was able to ask specific questions and share their concerns and ideas.
There are many benefits to e-learning and the blended learning method. Reduction and prevention of travel costs and time loss are the most obvious benefits. In addition, online availability of the courses contributes to a more efficient way of studying. Students will have access to online courses at any desirable time and can choose the topics they are interested in or need for their profession. Distant learning also makes it possible for the students located far from JTC to follow the courses.
The MA delegation acknowledged the mentioned benefits of distant learning and showed interest in its further development in Indonesia. The delegation also mentioned their concerns on several issues, including securing the safety of the ICT infrastructure, the responsibility of designing the course materials and exams as well as justifying the high costs for the creation of such ICT structure. During this interactive session both SSR and MA delegation shared their ideas regarding these concerns.
It was stressed by the SSR experts that the realisation of the digital platform for e-learning facilities requires a strong ICT infrastructure and s a lengthy procedure according to the SSR experts. Apart from technical and infrastructure concerns, SSR further emphasised that digitalisation requires strong commitment and great effort from the organisation therefore it is important to be aware of the long and short term vision for JTC. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that distant learning is a complimentary tool to the current traditional contact classes and does not substitute the latter.
After the presentation, the delegation was given a small tour of the SSR’s building to see the media room where the online courses are filmed, the working space of the SSR team and the conference room.
To wrap up, the delegation was invited for a dinner with the President of the Hoge Raad and other counterparts of the MA delegation. The dinner took place in a restaurant in Utrecht called “de Rechtbank” (the Court), a suitable place for the Dutch and Indonesian counterparts to meet. This building has a great history dating back to the Benedictine monastery in 1054 and later transformed into a courthouse in Utrecht in the early 1800s.In 2008 the building was renovated and converted into the current restaurant/hotel while maintaining its historical character.