Sharpen Educational Relevance

Kompas, page 12

Education policies and study programs do not go hand in hand with the demands of the needs in society. That is, among others, because there is no fundamental grand strategy of national education. There is a need for reformation accompanied by sharpening the relevance of study programs according to the dynamics of the times.   In the share of courses in higher education, for example, there is a gap between the fields of science-engineering and social sciences-humanities. The social-humanities sector is still dominant, reaching 13,611 courses (57 percent), while the science-engineering 10,136 (43 percent).

Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) Satryo Soemantri Brodjonegoro said the need for engineers for infrastructure in 2015-2019 reached 65,483 to 237,987 people. While the annual increase is only 65,483 to 49,891. In the last decade, higher education graduates have been absorbed in the services, electricity, gas and water industries, and infrastructure sectors. The forecast of the 30 future trends shows that all three sectors will continue to grow and play a central role in the national economy.

According to Satryo, the main problem in higher education is that it uses more an input-based form of education. In fact, referring to international standards, it should already shift to be outcome-based.  He said Indonesia needs a change in the standard of higher education from input-based to outcome-based. When this has been undertaken, then will it get international recognition.

In relation to government policy in vocational development, Satryo reminded the need for uniqueness in areas of expertise that promise special skills according to the development of society. For example, in Japan there are only five technical colleges (similar to SMKs) and all are integrated with major industries.

Meanwhile, Director General of Institutional Higher Education Science and Technology Kemristek and Dikti Patdono Suwignjo acknowledged the gap of higher education graduates. In fact, even research is not in line with the needs of business and industry. Therefore, the issue of higher education relevance in supporting economic growth should be a common concern.

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