Industry needs inform curriculum

Improving upon the education of young people is an important step towards achieving Indonesia’s goal “to drive investment and competitiveness through human capital development”. Of particular importance within this is the vocational education sector. The Ministry of Industry has already established the Industry Vocational Education Program, which has linked over 1,500 vocational high schools (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan, or SMK) with industry partners across Java and Sumatra, but there remains vast opportunity to further improve the sector.

The Djarum Foundation has taken a more local approach, and has developed a program aimed at directly improving the quality of education at vocational high schools in Kudus, Central Java. Eighteen vocational high schools have joined the program aimed at further bolstering the skills of the Indonesian workforce. According to Program Director Primadi H. Serad, the program strives to raise the quality of education in line with industry needs, so that “[students] are ready to join the world of work” upon graduation. The program both provides teachers with better training, and delivers better quality, industry-standard resources for the school. With its dual focus, the program seeks to empower young people through access to better quality education.

As part of this program, teachers are trained in accordance with industry standards. The program also provides access to industry-standard facilities, in order to minimise the gap between what students experience at school, and what they experience later in the workplace.

The Djarum Foundation also established the Teaching Factory, which is a final component of the program designed to test a student’s readiness for the workforce through a workplace simulation.

The program was designed to reflect current and future industry needs, across a wide diversity of sectors. As of 2018, the program is based around sixteen competencies across four fields of specialisation chosen specifically for their ability to add to the competitiveness of graduates both domestically and internationally: engineering technology, the maritime sector, creative economy, and tourism. Primadi highlights that this is a continuous process of refining the key skills for graduates of vocational high school – emphasising that as industry needs change, so too will the program.

Technical skills gaps are the focus of this program, with emphasis on raising the quality of the future skilled workforce. In order to meet the demands of domestic industries, the program aims to equip students with skills that fall within the four key areas, such as industrial chemistry, maritime technology, animation, communication design, software development and culinary expertise. More than simply practical skills, the curriculum aims to develop demand-driven skills within students that are relevant not only within the domestic context, but internationally as well.

Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartanto reaffirms the importance of high quality education for Indonesia’s youth, saying “We believe that Indonesia’s young generation is the main driver of national economic growth in the future”.


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