Minister of Education and Culture (Mendikbud) Prof Dr Muhadjir Effendy asked that organizers of Vocational High Schools (SMK) not arbitrarily open new study programs (Prodi), except Prodi being intensified by the government. Education Minister said that, in addition to agriculture, fisheries and tourism, at present the government continues to encourage SMKs to open study programs related to the creative industries. Selection of the four courses that become the focus of SMK development, he said, is based on Indonesia’s economic development policy. The four national flag-ship sectors are projected to absorb quite a large workforce.
Muhadjir also highlights the magnitude of the potential of this country, but has not been utilized optimally. Therefore, Mendikbud hopes SMK to become the motor of productivity of the nation to win the competition in the era of globalization.
Mendikbud cited the Indonesian tourism sector that is supported by the competitive advantage of natural beauty and cultural diversity. The tourism sector still requires skilled personnel in the services and the management of an increasingly diverse tourism potential. Currently 60 percent of SMKs in Indonesia are managed by the private sector and the remaining 40 percent are government/ state-run.
Alluding to pesantren-based SMKs, former Rector of the University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) stated pesantren-based SMKs could also create tourism study programs, especially now that religious tourism is a trend. Pesantren-based SMKs not only educate and guide students to become skilled, but to also have religious character and resilience. In addition to the four national superior sectors, the Directorate of SMK Guidance is still developing SMKs in the fields of technology and engineering expertise, as well as expanding and equalizing access by facilitating the establishment and development of community/ boarding school (pondok pesantren)-based SMKs.