Overview: South Sulawesi’s young people

“Give me 1,000 elders, I will definitely unplug Mount Semeru from its roots. Give me 10 youth, I will definitely shake the world” – Soekarno, first president of Indonesia.


The statement of President Soekarno strongly reflects the important role of youth in Indonesia’s independence and development. Indeed, Indonesia’s history has been painted with their contributions. Delegates of the Indonesian Youth Congress on 28 October 1928 pledged the Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Oath): “One nation, one homeland, one language”. The key role of young people, male and female, in Indonesia’s independence in 1945 is recorded in numerous works of literature.

Read or download the full overview: ‘Profile of South Sulawesi’s youth’

In Indonesia, youth is defined as ages 16 to 30, and this group have led the social and political transformation of Indonesia, from the fight for independence to the reformation era that led to the fall of Soeharto’s New Order regime.

Recognising the important role of youth is fundamental to making optimal use of their potential to drive progress.

The current Joko Widodo administration has outlined youth development goals in its Nawa Cita agenda, aimed at strengthening diversity and Indonesia’s social cohesion and prosperity. Nawa Cita sets out four priorities for policy and strategy around young people:

  1. Expanding opportunities to obtain education and skills;
  2. Increasing the participation of youth in social, political, economic, cultural and religious development;
  3. Increasing opportunities for youth in entrepreneurship, pioneering, and leadership;
  4. Protecting all young people from the dangers of drug abuse, alcoholism and the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV-AIDS.

Understanding youth from various perspectives will enable the government to better  harness their potential as contributors to national development. Youth are critical assets for the sustainable development of Indonesia and their education and health is thus of primary importance. With this in mind, The Australia-Indonesia Centre’s PAIR (Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research) Program in South Sulawesi has youth as a cross-cutting focus.

This overview focuses on youth in South Sulawesi, particularly the most current developments in education, health and employment. Data used is mostly from Statistics Indonesia’s 2018 reports on Indonesian and South Sulawesi youth. This is because at the time of writing, the 2019 South Sulawesi youth report is not yet published, making the 2018 report the latest complete data available.

Image: Peto Tj on Unsplash.

Read or download the full overview: ‘Profile of South Sulawesi’s youth’

Picture of Dr Hasnawati Saleh

PAIR Research Coordinator
The Australia-Indonesia Centre