As the official language in a large number of countries and the international common tongue, the importance of learning English is hard to deny. English is used to communicate on a daily basis by over 2 billion people around the world and is the dominant language in business, sciences and entertainment. With cross-border business communication most often conducted in English, the language plays a key role in leveraging even a country’s position in the global economy. Researches have shown direct correlation between the ability of a population to speak good English with the performance of the economy and the index of a country’s human development.
In Indonesia, access to English training is lacking and unevenly distributed. The English Proficiency Index of International English language institution, English First, reveals that Indonesia is well below its neighbouring countries Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in relation to English profiency. There is general lack of support for English language-training from local government as evidenced by the shortage of qualified English teachers for public schools, especially in rural areas, as well as the absence of any free English language institutions. Intercultural schools in the country often have English as the main language of instruction, raising young fluent speakers of English, but these private instituions often cost thousands of dollars a year—far from what the major population can afford. Often, when English assignments are assigned, students simply turn to “do my essay” writing services as they cannot produce quality English writing themselves.
With the strides that have been made in the technology industry during recent years, however, more and more students are relying on technology to aid them in language learning. As a developing country Indonesia has capped a series of pivotal shifts towards a digital revolution, allowing technology to penetrate into all aspects of our lives, including the way we educate ourselves. Today, 45 million internet users in the country and the rapidly rising internet availability has turned into an avenue through which English spreads as a language. 50% of the content available on the internet is in English, and for plenty of the young and technologically-savvy, the ability to understand the language grants them an access to a great wealth of information, entertainment, and cultural understanding. Although the Western media on television in which our society is engulfed in had always been a carrier of linguistic globalization and has helped English language-learners increase fluency, the emergence of the interwebs along with various social platforms has allowed Indonesians to do something they might otherwise not be able to do: practice their English speaking skills by participating in a global conversation online.
Yet despite these advances, gains in education technology have a lot more scope. Technology holds reassuring potential in becoming a proficient tool to support language learning. In a demographically young country where English proficiency and general education lag well behind the regional average, technology stands as a promising beacon of hope in narrowing this gap.