Balancing vocational, academic job markets

September, 14 2017 | 13:38 pm FMB9_1

A look into Scandinavian and German-speaking countries could provide insights into how inequality in Indonesia could be reduced, according to International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) director Sugeng Bahagijo.

As it stands, education in Indonesia is overly focused on producing academically-minded graduates, with not enough people going into vocational education. This could lead to mismatches and imbalances in the job market.

“In religious education, we only need about 3,000 S1 [undergraduate] teachers per year, but our annual graduates number 30,000. Why? It’s because our focus is on academics,” Sugeng said at a talk during the Forum Merdeka Barat 9 (FMB9) media forum on reducing inequality, held on Sept. 9.

Sugeng warned that with the way Indonesia was headed its undergraduate populace might become like that of the United States, with too many young people without vocational skills. Sugeng said the country should emulate the “dual education system” of Germany and Scandinavian countries.

“People there aren’t oriented toward degrees, but to professions,” Sugeng said. “In Indonesia there are too many academics. And I’ve noticed that the allocation of funding is more to academics. If we want a quick win, we must change.”