Kompas, page 1
The school dropout rate has in general declined in every new school year. However, the number of primary school students who do not continue their education to the junior high school level, as well as dropouts in primary school (SD), is still relatively high, that is 1,1014,079 people. This condition would clearly have a detrimental effect on the quality of future manpower. The number is exacerbated by the accumulation of students who only hold SD diploma from the previous school years, i.e.: 1,422,932 people in 2012/2013, 1,426,926 students (2013/2014), and 1,170,135 students (2014/2015).
Director of Higher Education, Science & Technology, and Culture of Bappenas Amich Alhumami said the bad situation was compounded by the fact that to date 42.9 percent of the Indonesian people are only educated until primary school (SD). He also stated, a third of Indonesia’s population, i.e.: 76 million people, only hold a maximum of junior high school (SMP) and equivalent level. He reminded, this condition is very detrimental to the quality and capacity of the nation’s workforce.
According to Amich, with low education level, automatically the work choice is limited to fields that do not rely on high level thinking. The type of work that requires middle level skills, such as technicians or employees, are also inaccessible because they do not have sufficient knowledge and skills. As a result, in the era of the ASEAN Economic Community, Indonesia risks finding the mid-strata jobs to be occupied by foreign workers, because the majority of the workforce is not competitive.
In addition to causing limitations to employment access, the lack of skills of Indonesia’s workforce also impacts significantly on the social and economic sectors. Jobs that only rely on physical strength do not have opportunities for career advancement. Meaning, in the long term, there would be no increase in income. In addition, continued Amich, people with low education generally also lack reasoning ability and perspective/ insight. Matters such as wise financial management or health insurance is also not understood so they risk not being able to improve their personal as well as family welfare level.