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Februari 2001



Kolom   Vol I / 02


Oleh :
Ir. Prasasto Satwiko, MBSc, Ph.D
10 Maret 2001
PDF Format

The lack of appropriate architectural science laboratories to support good learning-teaching methods has long been a problem in Indonesia and has been suspected result in the poor building environmental design quality. Anticipating the global free trade era, the methods should be improved if the students are to compete with their counterparts from countries with well-established education system. The current poor condition of almost all of Indonesian life sectors has forced people to use the limited resources more efficiently and effectively. Miraculously, those crises, instead of affecting the availability of computer technology significantly; they enlighten the positive potentials of the computer technology. Computer based virtual laboratories have become a realistic option; they offer a comprehensive solution for technical and non-technical problems of learning and teaching architectural sciences.


A virtual laboratory is a computer laboratory with an ability to digitally imitate conventional equipment or reproduce real world phenomena. The term virtual is not only used to describe the virtual nature of the laboratory but also cunningly utilised the new trend, the virtual technology. An observation conducted in Yogyakarta showed students’ high enthusiasm to virtual reality technologies.

The positive prospect of virtual laboratory in solving problems in learning and teaching architectural sciences has naturally emerged from Indonesia’s current conditions. Those very pessimistic conditions (very poor economy, education, etc.) contain positive potentials, which should be responded creatively. This paper begins with a review on the present discouraging economic situation of Indonesia, which affects the education sector. It is followed by the discussions on the architecture education, the architectural science learning-teaching method, and the promising development of computer technology. The bright sides of the crises are explored and concluded with the relevance of developing architectural science virtual laboratories. Partial results of the research on the architectural students’ knowledge of computer hardware and software, conducted in Yogyakarta Special Region, are presented.


Indonesia, with its more than 212 million people, is still considered as one of the poorest countries in the world. Average Regional Minimum Personal Income is around US$20.00 per month, but a daily wage of less than US$0.50 is not uncommon. Meanwhile, there are few people who can earn more than US$100,000.00 per month. The wide gap between the wealthy and the poor is reflected on extreme differences of lifestyles, from a modern (even futuristic) lifestyle in metropolitan, such as in Jakarta to the Stone Age lifestyle in remote areas such as in West Papua. The gap also obviously presents in the education society, teaching and learning facilities offered by poor and rich universities; also between the poor and the wealthy students.

For the year 2000, the government can only allocate 6.8 % of its national budget for the education sector, which is considered very low by the education society for around 7.2 million students are predicted to drop out from their schools. Table 1 shows a relatively low state education expenditure per capita of three Indonesia’s biggest cities (Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung) compared to some cities in Asia, in 1999, according to Asiaweek. With such a low budget, it is easy to understand the low quality education results. Scholars openly state that the quality of Indonesian education system is steadily declining.


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