As a novel way to promote “Learning from Home” for the students during the COVID-19 enforces school lockdown, Indonesian government has recently announced collaboration with Netflix- an American production company.
The Indonesian broadcaster, TVRI will air Netflix documentaries like Our Planet, Street Food: Asia, Night on Earth, and many other titles which are aimed to enhance students’ knowledge of science. This is for the first time that Netflix Original documentaries are being broadcasted on terrestrial television.
Nadiem Anwar Makarim, the Indonesian Education and Culture Minister said that the initiative was adopted in the wake of the need for imparting quality education amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Makarim also stated that Netflix has invested USD 1 million towards the program which includes events like scriptwriting workshops, a short film competition with the nation’s ideology Pancasila as the theme, an online safety training program, and agile governance workshops.
The initiative has however drawn criticism from opposition parties who said that the collaboration, although did not violate any regulations but was unethical as the education ministry should instead be collaborating with “other state-owned enterprises”.
Syafiul Huda, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Commission X said, “We think there are a lot of youths in the country that could create more creative documentaries, short movies or guidelines for students during this period of learning from home. I wonder why the education ministry as the home for education [in the country] chose to collaborate with a foreign streaming platform just for its documentaries.” As reported by kompas.com.
Even minister Nadiem Makarim acknowledged that local content still dominated the programs being aired at TVRI, while adding that the program was also implemented for the sake of global diversity.
Netflix however had contrasting views. "Around the world, teachers and educational organizations have asked if we can make some of our documentaries available during the crisis and we’re happy to help without any cost," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post.
This seems to be a win-win deal for the Indonesian government and Netflix as it is expected to help students in distance learning during the pandemic without any cost to them or the government. Netflix on the other hand will gain a good foothold in the country through terrestrial TV, which may help it to drive the subscription of its online platform.