Indonesian schoolkids: in praise of creativity

Many years ago, I wrote a blog post with a very click-baity headline so rude I’m not hyper-linking it, which drew attention to how poorly Indonesian 15 year-olds tend to perform on internationally standrdised PISA tests of logic, maths, science and language. I’ve always found that performance slightly at odds with the amazing creativity one sees in every corner of the nation, (especially when it comes to labour-saving devices).

Some of that creativity was on display in the entries to the short video competition run by STARmeds, a research collaboration led by Universitas Pancasila. The challenge was to make a video about the dangers of fake or substandard medicines in Indonesia. Needless to say we had a few from pharmacists who had trouble letting go of their jargon, and one or two entries that were a bit close to the “I’m the public health expert, do as I say” mould that has become depressingly familiar over 18 months of pandemic finger-wagging. But several of the entries were a lot more fun than that. My personal favourite, and the overall winner of the competition, was made by Fadhlurrahman Nibras Syafi, a high-school student from Magelang in Central Java, who saw the competition notice in his Instagram feed. It is funny, and informative without being preachy. Enjoy!

You can see runner-up entries on the work-in-progress Pancasila site.