RI strives to boost education

The JakartaPost, page 1

Indonesia is at risk of missing the opportunity to benefit from its demographic dividend – which will peak in 2025 to 2030 – as it struggles to keep its youth at school in order to produce a quality workforce.

A demographic dividend is when the proportion of people in the productive age group (15 to 64 years) reaches a maximum and the dependency ratio is at its lowest level. It is perceived as a demographic bonus as the country in question will have the opportunity to utilize its working-age population and maximize its economic productivity.

The current composition of the country’s workforce may indicate that the demographic bonus could be more of a bust than a boon for the world’s fourth largest country.

According to 2014 data from the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), 42% of the workforce were elementary school graduates, while 26% percent had graduate junior high school and 22% finished senior high school. That leaves 10% percent who graduated from university.

The current workforce composition will eventually phase out, but not until 2030, when Indonesia is also estimated to lose its demographic bonus.

The Culture and Education Ministry’s senior advisor on innovation and competitiveness, Ananto Kusuma Seta said the current composition will be reversed by 2030, when elementary school graduates will only make up 20% of our workforce, while high school graduates will jump to 30 percent.

The current workforce is dominated by elementary school graduate because they were products of the past educational system, when it was only mandatory for people to attend school for six years as mandated the six-years compulsory education program launched in 1984. Junior high school graduates also make up large percentage of the workforce because it was not until 1994 that the nine-year compulsory education program kicked off. A 12-years compulsory education program was launched just last year.

Though it has just kicked off, Ananto said he was optimistic that the country had enough time to ensure high school graduates would dominate the workforce by 2030.



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