In supporting the “Merdeka Belajar Kampus Merdeka” Program (MBKM Program) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, SEAMEO BIOTROP initiates an internship program specially designed for university students. This program involves the role of lecturers from the interns’ home universities to accompany the interns during the internship program. The program is worth 20 credits for each chosen subject. The internship is carried out using several means of learning methods, i.e., classroom, mentoring, practicum (field and laboratory), and working practice.
The first batch of the internship program was participated by 5 students from the Agrotechnology Department, Faculty of Agriculture of the Universitas Pembangunan Nasional Veteran East Java, from 11 October 2021 to 24 January 2022. There were 4 internship programs offered, i.e., 1. Management of Invasive Species and Modern Biotechnology; 2. Risk Management and Environmental Quality; 3. Sustainable Urban Farming; and 4. Applied Biotechnology. From the 4 offered programs, the students preferred to study the Management of Invasive Species and Modern Biotechnology Program, which consisted of 5 topics: 1. Community Development; 2. Integrated Pest Management of Stored-Product Insect Pests; 3 Modern Biotechnology; 4. Post-harvest Fungi and Mycotoxins in Food and Feed Stuffs; and 5. Management of Weeds and Invasive Alien Plant Species. The objective of learning these topics was to support the sustainability and conservation of the environment and biodiversity. In the future, the program might be enhanced to plant propagation by using tissue culture technique, plant nursery management and germplasm conservation.
At the closing ceremony of this internship program conducted on 25 January 2022, the Director of SEAMEO BIOTROP, Dr Zulhamsyah Imran stated that this program is very beneficial for students after graduating from university. "This MBKM program will be very useful to improve students' hard skills and soft skills so that they are ready to enter the industrial world," he stated. Furthermore, he also hoped that this program would be continued. The MBKM internship program is also in line with the goal of SDGs number 4, which is to improve quality education in Indonesia. (sis, day).