Vocational teacher certification expected to improve workforce

The Jakarta Post, page 3

Martin Roy, 28, a vocational teacher from Serdang Bedagai, North Sumatra, could not hide his excitement while registering for the state-sponsored training program called PPG. He was hopeful the program would improve his skills and help him further his career.

Subsidized by the government, PPG is a hotly contested program, which will cost Rp 1.87 trillion this year. Roughly 25,000 vocational teachers from across the country are vying for seats in the four-month training program to be held at top colleges and polytechnics from July.

Successful participants will obtain dual certificates in their vocations and teaching and will be entitled to more financial benefits. This year, the PPG is focusing on vocational teachers, especially those teaching subjects in tourism, business, maritime industries and machinery.

The Culture and Education Ministry’s director general for teachers, Sumarna Surapranata, said at the launch of this year’s PPG that this program aims to help fill vacancies for 91,816 vocational teachers. Indonesia also needs more certified vocational teachers, and thus the forthcoming graduates will be deployed to 13,000 schools.

However, education experts doubt the program will bring the desired results. Education expert Doni Koesoema argued that while the government is busy building more vocational schools and recruiting new teachers, the actual problem lies with the poor quality of vocational education and that discrepancies in standards need immediate fixing.

Therefore, he said, it will only increase the number of teachers in vocational schools, not improving the quality. Another problem is that not all vocational teachers have the opportunity to study at bona fide universities.

Tito Reanigio, a 24 year-old vocational teacher from Sorong, Papua, was disappointed when he realized he could not join the PPG because his educational background did not meet the requirements. He studied a C-accredited science and technology program at a private university in Jayapura while the PPG requires that a candidate graduate from a B-accredited program. In Papua, they don’t have many choices because there are no A or B-accredited engineering study programs there, he said.

Doni asked there must be a fairer admission test to examine candidates’ eligibility. He believes the requirements discriminate against university graduates like Tito and that educational background should not be the main requirement in PPG candidate selection.

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