News Desk, Jakarta – Education, Culture, Research and Technology Minister Nadiem Anwar Makarim issued a clarification on Wednesday regarding his speech at a recent United Nations conference, in which he used "shadow organization" to refer to an external information technology (IT) vendor hired to update the ministry's digital system.
"I made a mistake in using the words 'shadow organization'. What I meant was that [the team] mirrors our organizational structure at the ministry," Nadiem said in the clarification provided to the House of Representatives.
Nadiem also said the team of experts and contractors from GovTech Edu had been tasked with assisting the ministry's directorate generals to implement their individual programs through the use of digital platform.
The 38-year-old former Gojek CEO added that the team worked under the coordination of state-owned telecommunications company PT Telkom.
In his speech at the UN Transforming Education Summit in New York last week, Nadiem said he had set up a "shadow organization" comprising 400 product managers, data scientists and software engineers.
"This shadow organization is attached to our ministry and this organization is not a vendor to the ministry," the minister says in a video uploaded to his Instagram account, @nadiemmakarim.
Lawmakers responded angrily to Nadiem's phrasing, with one member of Commission X overseeing education calling it a "vanity project".
"Why should we be proud about this? What are the positive impacts from the team?" said commission member Anita Jacoba Gah.