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High schools to issue professional certifications

posted Oct 15, 2015, 9:07 PM by Brook Ross
Abridged from The Jakarta Post, October 08 2015, Fedina S. Sundaryani

In anticipation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will take effect early next year, the Culture and Education Ministry has unveiled a plan that will allow at least 1,600 vocational high schools nationwide to hold competency tests for professionals who were eager to work abroad in the region. “These vocational high schools will serve as competency test centers that will also be acknowledged not just by authorities in Indonesia but also in other countries,” the ministry’s director for vocational high school guidance, M Mustaghfirin Amin, said on Tuesday.  Mustaghfirin said the ministry was working with the National Board for Certification of Professions (BNSP) to reduce unemployment, which hovered around 40 percent for high school and vocational high school graduates in 2012.  However, Mustaghfirin said recent data showed that “at least 85 percent of vocational high school graduates enter the work world three months after they graduate”.

According to data from the Education Sector Analytical and Capacity Development Partnership (ACDP), enrolment in vocational high schools has increased by 15 percent, or 4.2 million students nationally, and accounted for all new enrolments at senior school level from 2011 to 2013.  It also accounted for almost 50 percent of all enrolments at the senior secondary school level in 2013. Data from the ministry showed that as of September, the country had 12,656 vocational high schools.

Meanwhile, BNSP head Sumarna F. Abdurahman said the board had allowed around 50 out of 300 vocational high schools that it had surveyed to distribute professional certifications to their students. He said an increase in the number of vocational high school graduates who were ready for work would be impossible without increased involvement from the private sector. “The vocational education system must be competency-based with standards pertaining to industries, it has to be demand-driven, it must have a public-private partnership and it also must have an incentive system to coax corporations to pay attention to these schools,” he said. Sumarna said the government could use some of the money from the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) as an incentive to convince the private sector to assist in training competent vocational high school graduates.