Initiating Global Service Learning Movement: A Best Practice of

Petra Christian University[1]


Rolly Intan



Former Rector of Petra Christian University

Jalan Siwalankerto 121-131, Surabaya, Indonesia.





1. Introduction


The era of Industry 4.0 has already been started. There are some keys of technologies that play important roles in this era such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, etc. In business, the investment in Industry 4.0 is predicted to reach one trillion USD in 2020. Revenue and cost reduction are increased annually more than 400 billion USD. Disruptive innovation happened in all fields of life as a part of digitalization by means that the disruptive innovation is any constructive change of creating a new way in replacing the previous approach for improvement.  

As an impact of disruptive innovation, by 2022, 9 percent of youth would be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today; 37 percent would be deployed in jobs that have radically changed skill sets (Leapfrogging to Education 4.0: Student at the core, November 2017). Report published by Dell Technologies on 12 July 2017, based on research led by the institute for the future mentions that 85 percent of jobs in 2030 have not been invented yet. The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn “in-the-moment” using new technologies. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself. Here, the ability to gain new knowledge may be considered as knowledge about knowledge, known as meta knowledge. Therefore, one of the most important purpose of education is more on the enhancement and enrichment of the meta knowledge than merely on the knowledge achievement. Through the enrichment of the meta knowledge, one may have ability to learn a new knowledge faster.  

It is well known that disruptive innovation is mainly triggered by digital technology and internet. In education, it would be happened that online educational resources will cause traditional colleges and universities to close. As mentioned by Clayton Christensen, Professor of Harvard Business School, the author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and “Innovative University”, 50 percent of the 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. It is because the online education will become a more cost-effective way for students to receive an education, effectively undermining the business models of traditional institutions and running them out of business. The education institution must realize that we are now entering the Education 4.0 as mainly characterized by Learner-centered Learning, Personalized Learning, Complete Flexibility, Adaptive Assessment, AI Building upon Learning Analytics, Andragogy, Heutagogy and Paragogy (Leapfrogging to Education 4.0: Student at the core, November 2017).

All the characteristics are generally talking about the methodologies of learning which is supported by the development of digital technologies and internet as a result of Industry 4.0. However, the sixteen 21st Century Learning Skills and Competencies as adapted from World Economic Forum ( are not only to improve the cognitive skill, but also emotional skill, spiritual skill, cultural skill, moral skill, etc.  Therefore, it is necessary to apply the concept of whole person education in obtaining the sixteen 21st Century Learning Skills and Competencies. Here, the whole person education could not only be realized by the online learning, but also offline learning (face to face and social interaction), especially when we are talking about how to improve emotional, spiritual, cultural and moral skills. Moreover, in the process of education, the students actually need struggle of life for strengthening their perseverance.


2. A Best Practice of Petra Christian University


Petra Christian University (PCU) is a private Christian university established in September 22nd, 1961. Tracing back its history when there was a significant necessity in providing higher education opportunity and service in Surabaya, especially for Christian and Chinese-Indonesian people; PCU was initiated to fulfill the needs. As a population of academic community, up to present the majority of PCU student body is Chinese-Indonesian descendants with middle-level economic family background.

Through its vision “To be a Caring and Global University with Commitment to the Christian Values”, PCU enhances its concern and commitment in applying the “whole person education” or “holistic education” to equip the students with at least five excellences (academic excellence, emotional excellence, moral excellence, spiritual excellence and cultural excellence). Hence, the mind, heart, spirit and cultural engagement are blended nicely within their learning process in the university to prepare their roles successfully in global era as global citizens. PCU, then, learns that Service-Learning (S-L) program is one of the most effective and powerful concepts as well as learning methods in order to achieve the holistic education objective. In the program, the students as participants obtain opportunity not only to mingle amongst the rural society, but also to purposely support the society life by sharing their expertise, involving their emotion in building relationship and communication, and earning personal reflection and commitment to continue the caring spirit toward others.


3. Supporting Units and Policies


The Service Learning (S-L) program in PCU is designed structurally and practically among all departments. Currently, this Program is established under the integrated cooperation of two academic entities:

·         Center of Community Service, this center is the Project Organizer who conducts the field survey, builds relationship with the targeted society to elaborate their needs and correlates the field needs with the blueprint of SL program;

·         Faculty and Department, this entity supports the SL program by reviewing the academic curriculum and courses’ contents which in-line with the SL concept.

In the future, it is necessary to establish one more supporting unit, called Excellent Learning and Teaching Center, as the “think-tank” that designs the learning and teaching methods on how to effectively implement S-L concept in pedagogical perspective.

In general, there are two types of S-L Program based on the fields of study. First, mono-discipline S-L program is an S-L program which particularly related to a certain course of department. In this S-L course, students learn how to serve community using the skill/ competency obtained from the specific course. Each study program or department is obligatory required to provide at least one course which applies the S-L concept. Currently, there are 45 mandatory courses provided in all departments of PCU. Table 1 shows some examples of course provided by a certain department that related to the mono-discipline S-L program.


Tabel 1. Some S-L courses provided by department at PCU



Service Learning Courses


·         Architecture for Children

·         Inclusive Design

Visual Communication Design

·         Packaging Design

·         Destination Branding

Hotel Management

·         Introduction to F & B Service

·         Introduction to Pastry Bakery

Interior Design

·         Interior Design 2

·         Creativepreneurship

Electrical Engineering

·         System Energy Management

Communication Science

·         Interpersonal Communication

Second, multi-discipline S-L program is an S-L program organized by faculty or university. As the S-L programs provided by faculty or university, the participants of the program are the inter-discipline students who come from various departments. Multi-discipline participants are a potential demography to conduct the inter-discipline S-L program as they will apply various expertise to support the field needs in larger aspects (not only infrastructure or physical support, but also community soft-skills enrichment in education, basic/ personal hygiene, small economic enterprises and other practical skills).

Nevertheless, students and lectures are often reluctant to participate in S-L class due to the big efforts and extra loads for running the S-L class. Therefore, it is necessary to encourage the lecturers for utilizing S-L method in their class and to appreciate those lecturers who are willing to be the coordinator of an S-L class. Similarly, an encouraging policy or regulation is necessary to motivate students to take at least one S-L class as a requirement of graduation.


4. Successful Stories of Mono-discipline S-L


In the relation to Packaging Design S-L class, students of Communication Visual Design helped Micro-Small Enterprises in designing the packaging of their products to increase sales. Figure 1 shows students and villagers are in discussion how to design packaging for products manufactured by the villagers in Kediri Regency.



Figure 1. Discussion between students and villagers in Kediri Regency


One of the most outstanding results was a design of honey product by the students of Packaging Design class (batch of 2009) as seen in Figure 2. Along with remarkable sales increase of the product, the design was awarded the 1st winner Pack 2i Academy Design Award for Herbal Category in 2009, and Packaging Excellence Asia Star 2009 for student’s category.



Figure2. Design of honey product packaging

Before starting to serve community through S-L class, students are required to prepare not only their skills/ knowledge, but also their heart (feeling); so they could serve the community eagerly. For instance, the S-L class of “Architecture for Children” as seen in Figure 3 prior to their project to design some facilities of a Junior High School for blind children. The Architecture students were given the experience of being blind people to improve their empathy and appreciation in order to understand the significance of their design in helping the blind children.




Figure 3. Given the experience as blind people


Another example is shown in Figure 4. In order to support the program of Surabaya city in rehabilitating ex-prostitution area – known as “Dolly”- to be a green and healthy residency, the students of Civil Engineering Department did a project of the healthy coloring village within clean and health characteristic in urban village through S-L class “Environment Science”.



Figure 4. Rehabilitating ex-prostitution area in Surabaya


5. Successful Stories of Multi-discipline S-L


Besides the mono-discipline service learning program integrated in particular classes of each department, PCU also organized an international multi-discipline S-L Program known as Community Outreach Program (COP).  Accordingly, COP might be considered as an embodiment of PCU vision: “To be a Caring and Global University with Commitment to Christian Values”. Historically, COP is a pilot project of international multi-discipline S-L program commenced in 1996 under the partnership with Dongseo University, Busan, South Korea. During 4 weeks of COP with a tag line “Making the world a better place”, students from different countries, cultures and backgrounds stay and work together with villagers to cultivate a fertile learning experience in serving and empowering the community. At least, there are four essential points that students can beneficially learn from their participation in COP:

·         Multi-cultural Understanding and Wisdom

·         Inter-religious Dialog and Understanding

·         Inter-disciplinary Approach and Team Work

·         Peace Building Issues


Up to the celebrating the 20th anniversary of COP in 2016, COP has noted in total remarkable parti-cipation of 2684 students coming from 21 universities and 12 different countries. Amongst them are 1594 international students and 1090 PCU’s students. List of partner universities of COP is given in Table 2.


Table 2. Lists of COP Partners





Year of Join


Petra Christian University




Dongseo University




InHolland University

The Netherlands



Hong Kong Baptist University

Hong Kong



International Christian University




St. Andrew University




Chung Chi College (China University of Hong Kong)

Hong Kong



Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong



Soochow University




Lady Doak University




Guang Xi Normal University




Guang Xi University in Science and Technology




Lingnan University

Hong Kong



Widya Mandira University




Fu Jen Catholic University




University of Newcastle




Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong



Hong Kong Institute of Education

Hong Kong



Dallas Baptist University




Coventry University

United Kingdom



Singapore University of Social Science




As the results, there are three primary outputs of COP. First, students gain personal enrichments, hard skills and soft skills. Students have the opportunity to directly implement their knowledge and hard skills to understand the community needs and to overcome the challenges. They also have personal character development by learning to understand and work together as a team with participants from diverse cultural backgrounds. Second, the relevant needs of the villagers on physical development; such as infrastructure support, school rehabilitation, water piping and filtering, are substantially answered. Last, the quality life of community is enhanced through community empowerment on health care and children education.


6. Summary and Future Challenges


As a summary, S-L program may be started as a domestic S-L that means domestic students serve their local community. However, the cultural challenge of domestic S-L lies in the gap of life style and level of education between students and villagers. Thus, to improve cultural understanding in global perspective, domestic S-L may be extended to international S-L by inviting international students, as a team who stays and works together in serving local community. In the perspective of PCU students, COP is a good example of the growing initiative of global S-L movement in serving local community.

As a future challenge, PCU would like to propose COP as the best practice of an international multi-discipline S-L program to be imitated and organized by international partner institutions in serving their community. COP is one of the inspiring momentum which necessarily followed up with larger international partnerships to initiate the global movement.  It will provide opportunity for PCU students to have international experience in collaborating and serving international community. Therefore, there are milestones to initiate the global movement as shown in Figure 5. 



Figure 5. Steps of S-L to initiate global movement



[1]   Leapfrogging to Education 4.0: Student at the core, November 2017







[1] This paper is an extended draft of the manuscript that has been presented and published in the bulletin of Asian University Presidents Forum 2018