Understanding the aspirations of young people in rural communities in South Sulawesi

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Indonesia’s young demographic is often called its untapped potential, and the government is keen to find ways to support and upskill them for a better future.


But what exactly are the dreams and aspirations of these young people? Particularly those living outside the major cities who have less access to infrastructure and training.

Read the latest updates from the PAIR Pilot Projects [September 2020]

Understanding the future hopes of young adults in the province of South Sulawesi is the aim of a new research project by The Australia-Indonesia Centre.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers with the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR) will investigate the economic and social aspirations of young people in target communities. The work will also uncover the education and training that would be required to assist them in reaching their goals.

Findings from this project will inform a larger project examining how young people respond to changes in farming practices and development, ultimately making recommendations for educational programs and policy reforms.

All research will be undertaken remotely, with no travel required.


An understanding of the educational and employment needs of young people in rural communities must include a look at the historical and developmental context of the area. Government structures in Indonesia are complex, and it is important to understand what barriers may exist that prevent young people from achieving their potential.

South Sulawesi has the ninth fastest growing economy of Indonesia’s provinces, and the construction of a new railway line is set to make its rural and communities more interconnected than ever. This will expand the opportunities available to young people, while also changing their relationship to the environment around them. In order for young people to make the most of new opportunities, policymakers must first understand their realities and aspirations and the inequalities that exist between various groups.

The research for this project will seek to identify a number of things, which will form the basis of further research in PAIR:

  • The needs and aspirations of young people in areas around the Makassar-Parepare railway line, and what barriers exist to fulfilling and realising these.
  • The current skills, education and training priorities, and what evidence and government policies and programs are behind these.
  • The current role of young people in rural development and agrarian change across different social groups.


The research team

PAIR domain: Young people and development

This is the second of four PAIR pilot projects. Last week we announced the pilot project of the ‘Young people, health and wellbeing’ domain, and the remaining two will be announced in the coming weeks.

Australian Media enquiries

Marlene Millott
PAIR Program Officer
+61 427 516 851

Indonesian Media enquiries

Fadhilah Trya Wulandari
PAIR Program Officer
+62 8124 3637 755


About PAIR

PAIR is the flagship program for the AIC’s new research model, supported by the Australian Government, the Indonesian Government, the South Sulawesi Provincial Government and the AIC’s eleven university partners.

Focused on South Sulawesi, PAIR explores the western coastal region of the province where a new 145-kilometre railway line is being built, connecting two major cities and three regencies: Makassar, Maros, Pangkajene, Barru and Parepare.  It will explore four key areas: seaweed as a major commodity; transport, logistics and supply chain; young people health and wellbeing; and young people skills and development.

Visit the PAIR website for more information.


About The Australia-Indonesia Centre

Through its In Conversation webinars, the Australia-Indonesia Centre has dissected the impacts of COVID-19 from perspectives including public health, economics, governance, international trade and international education. PAIR research will add to these efforts as we continue to seek ways to work together towards recovery and continued development.

The AIC is a consortium of 11 leading research universities in both countries. Its mission is to advance people-to-people links in science, technology, education, innovation and culture.


Visit the AIC website for more information.

Photo by Muhammad Aldo on Unsplash.