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Dylan Gunadi: Nutrition to Boost Education Attainment

Translator

Non Koresponden

Editor

Laila Afifa

17 June 2024 09:00 WIB

Dylan Gunadi: Nutrition to Boost Education Attainment

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - On the evening of Wednesday, May 29, the Soehanna Hall at the Energi Building buzzed with excitement and anticipation as the Jakarta Scholar Symposium (JSS) unfolded. This semi-annual event, known for its dynamic and insightful presentations, brought together some of the brightest young minds in Jakarta to showcase their innovative projects and share their visions for a better Indonesia.

The JSS is a unique platform, akin to TED but with a local flair, dedicated to giving Jakarta’s students a stage to spotlight their passions, projects, and the impact they are making. This year’s theme centered around innovation in Indonesia, with a focus on boosting the country’s economic competitiveness through creative solutions.

Among these inspiring presenters, Dylan Gunadi's presentation stood out as he delved into the critical link between educational attainment and nutrition in Indonesia. “Out of 4.8 million births annually, 1.5 million babies are born underweight,” he stated, “one in five children under the age of five are stunted, or too short for their age, and one in twelve are wasted, or too thin for their height.”

He then connected the two topics, claiming “Malnutrition causes poor brain development and academic performance, thus hindering the quality of education children receive.”

The figure, featured in his presentation, shows the retention rate for the sixty-five million enrolled students in Indonesia that dwindles from 90% in the primary to under 10% at post-secondary levels. It was also stated that only 43 percent of Indonesian 8th-grade students have some knowledge of whole numbers and decimals, operations, and basic graphs. In contrast, 99 percent of Singaporean 8th-grade students have this knowledge. Therefore, the amount of learning produced by Indonesian education systems falls well behind neighboring countries such as Singapore.

To attain higher levels of education, Dylan highlighted the importance of proper nutrition for children, emphasizing that a healthy diet is foundational to cognitive development and academic success. He argued that improving the nutritional status of children could significantly enhance educational outcomes, ultimately producing more skilled workers to drive economic growth and prosperity in Indonesia.

Dylan's presentation was not just a call to action but a well-researched argument supported by compelling data and real-world examples. He painted a vivid picture of how better health and nutrition can pave the way for a more educated and productive future generation.

He introduced data from studies done by the World Food Programme (WFP) that showed that the cost of subsidizing a balanced diet including rice, eggs, and vegetables costs just 2,500 IDR a day or under 80,000 IDR a month. “This [diet] in itself, could prevent stunting entirely for a child under the age of two, and fix a hole in our economy.” The data also showed different costs of subsidizing the same diet and nutritional standards for different ages and genders of the household.

A notable highlight of the event was Dylan Gunadi’s mention of his nonprofit organization, Cahaya Nusantara Infinity (CNI) - @infinityministry_cni on Instagram. This initiative, known as a 'Bimbingan belajar gratis,' provides free education in English and math proficiency to over 100 children living in poverty, with branches in BSD and Tangerang. This reflected Dylan’s commitment to improving educational access and equity. Through CNI, Dylan and his team offer invaluable learning opportunities to underprivileged children, helping to bridge educational gaps and foster a brighter future for all.

As the lights dimmed and the hall emptied, it was clear that the Jakarta Scholar Symposium had once again succeeded in its mission to illuminate the passions and insights of Jakarta’s young scholars. The ideas and innovations presented promise a brighter, more competitive future for Indonesia, driven by the creativity and dedication of its youth.*)

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