Govt to make vocational schools hip, promising

The Jakarta Post, page 3

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has placed great importance on vocational schools, whose graduates are expected to strengthen the country’s workforce. But it is facing one problem: vocational schools remain unpopular among middle-schoolers. The Culture and Education Ministry is now working to address this problem.

The ministry said it was planning to rebrand vocational schools to make them more popular with kids from middle-income families, who mostly think that continuing their education into senior high-school is a better choice for their careers.

The ministry’s director for vocational schools, Mustaghfirin Amin, said, they will change the names of several programs to make them become more attractive. For instance, they will change ‘Cookery’ to ‘Cuisine’. It is intended to glamorize the programs in a positive way.

Mustaghfirin said all vocational programs would also be certified by international agencies in order to show to kids from middleincome families that pursuing their education at a vocational school was a promising move for their future.

Jokowi has issued a presidential instruction (Inpres) aimed at rejuvenating vocational education in a bid to ensure that the country’s workforce will be properly absorbed by industry. The reform agenda is mainly intended to create a good quality workforce in four areas: the maritime sector, tourism, agriculture and creative industry. But the plan appears likely to collapse if the government fails to entice the best minds from junior high school to enter vocational school, experts have said.

In a bid to raise the standards of graduates before they enter the workforce, the ministry is also planning to set out the National Work Qualification Framework (KKNI) for all vocational education programs, which amounts to 142 at present.

Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairman for industry Johnny Darmawan said a KKNI for vocational schools was important to ensure that the graduates had the competency and skills required by industry.

Central Statistics Agency data shows that the number of jobless vocational school graduates has increased over the last three years.

Graduates of vocational schools contributed to 9.84 percent of the country’s unemployment rate in February 2016, compared to 9.05 percent and 7.21 percent recorded during the same period in 2015 and 2014, respectively.



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