The Future of Javanese Language and Culture is in Good Hands of Baksara
A Story of Baksara, One of the Top 20 Product-Based Capstone Projects in Bangkit 2023 Batch 1
Indonesia's cultural diversity is a national treasure. From one region to another, this country has a wide range of unique customs, traditions, and arts. Among 715 local languages in Indonesia, Javanese has the most significant number of speakers.
A survey by Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) or Statistics Indonesia 2023 mentioned that there are 80 million Javanese speakers. It shows that 29% of Indonesians speak Javanese. Unfortunately, the data of Javanese speakers presented before results from a 0.8% decrease in the number from the previous year.
A group of young people from Surabaya, Jawa Timur, know the abovementioned findings. They want Javanese, as their local language and culture, to be preserved. Therefore, these students united to build a product that could help middle and high schoolers learn Javanese.
Who are they, and what do they make? Let’s read the whole story!
A Group of Youth Aspired to Preserve Javanese Language and Culture
This is the story of a group of students from Surabaya who aspire to preserve the Javanese language and culture. They are Theofilus Arifin, Hans Wirjawan, and Rony Hartono Irawan from Universitas Surabaya, Achmad Nashruddin Riskynanda and Okyan Awang Ramadhana from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember Surabaya, and Glenn Steven Santoso from Universitas Kristen Petra.
Bangkit 2023 Batch 1 brought them together in a group assigned to create an innovation that could solve societal problems through the product-based capstone project. The same residency united these six students; they all live in Surabaya. As they teamed up, the youth brainstormed which problem they would solve.
Their frequent meetups finally resulted in the same vision; they wanted to preserve the Javanese language and culture. To strengthen their aspiration, they researched and found out that the Javanese language is threatened with extinction within the next two to three generations.
“The main threat to the survival of Javanese language and culture is the lack of access to proper education in formal institutions. Moreover, the school curriculum is dominated by theory and doesn’t include enough cultural knowledge. As a result, the younger generation is less interested in learning about Javanese culture,” said Theofilus Arifin, the COO of Baksara.
The findings motivated these six to create Baksara, an innovative app to promote and preserve the Javanese language and culture among middle and high schoolers.
When Baksara Deserved the Incubation Fund
To define how Baksara could draw youth’s attention to Javanese and grow their willingness to learn more about its culture, the team held frequent meetings to discuss, strategize, and establish their goal. The result of these meetups was their readiness to participate in the top 68 selection process for the product-based capstone project.
Their optimism and preparedness led them to get into the top 68, and they had to compete with the other 67 teams regarding the project’s sustainability. They didn’t want to miss any shot of getting an IDR 140 million incubation fund from Google, so the team kept giving their best in the next phase of the selection process.
“Finally, we became one of the Top 20 Product-Based Capstone Projects in Bangkit 2023 Batch 1 and deserved the incubation fund from Google and Dikti. It motivated us to develop the Baksara app further,” said Glenn Steven Santoso, the CEO of Baksara.Currently, Baksara is developing its five main features:
- Learning Module, where students can learn the Javanese language based on the Kampus Merdeka curriculum
- Hands-On Aksara Writing, a canvas on the app that students can use to write Javanese script
- Aksara Scanner, a feature to scan Javanese script
- Animation Video to make students’ learning experience more interactive
“We hope the development of Baksara could help middle school and high school students' learning process. Some schools in Surabaya are very welcome to this innovation and look forward to using this app,” said Rony Hartono Irawan, the CMO of Baksara.
Baksara’s Next Journey
The challenge is inevitable in the development of Baksara, as now they are participating in the Bangkit 2023 Batch 1 Incubation Program with specific targets and milestones to reach. They strive to give their best to create an app that can impact middle school and high school students’ Javanese learning experience.
“Our experience in Bangkit significantly helps us in developing Baksara. Regarding soft skills, the insights we gained broadened our horizons about good teamwork and collaboration. Regarding technical skills, the industry-standard tech materials taught in Bangkit help us develop a product beneficial for others,” said Hans Wirjawan, the CFO of Baksara.
As one of the 20 teams whose project development is funded by Google and Dikti, Baksara is currently developing a learning module for the Javanese language and culture. Furthermore, the team is also building a multi-platform app to make learning accessible to everyone.
“Seeing the enthusiasm of the partner school we’ve already approached, we look forward to seeing the students use Baksara to help their Javanese language and culture learning. We got full support from the teachers,” said Okyan Awang Ramadhana, the CTO of Baksara.
Now, Baksara is still progressing in the Bangkit 2023 Batch 1 Incubation Program to achieve milestones set for the incubated teams. They wish the Bangkit 2023 Batch 2 Product-Based Capstone Team could follow in their footsteps.
“The key to capstone success is the strength and clarity of your project goals. You must understand what kind of problem you want to solve with your team and how far your innovation will impact society. Good luck with your capstone project!” Achmad Nashruddin Riskynanda, the CCO of Baksara, closed the interview session.