President calls for diversification in vocational schools

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called for diversification in Vocational Schools (SMKs), which is adjusted to the industrial market need.

"I told the minister that thousands of our SMKs, from Sabang to Merauke, must not be confined to the old curriculum. Our curriculum must be flexible, and (SMK) should not have monotonous vocations," he stated at the Greenland International Industrial Center, Cikarang, West Java, on Friday.

The president made the statement during the launch of the Vocational Education program at PT Astra Otoparts Tbk. At the launch, there were 141 industries and 393 SMKs that signed 800 cooperative agreements.

"Ever since I was a kid, (SMK's) vocations are only building engineering, electric engineering, and what else I do not remember (it all), but what I remember is that if you go to the STM, you will see the same old departments, majoring in building and electric. Why in the current fast changing era are there no departments of ototronik (automotive electronic), welding engineering, construction engineering, steel engineering, mechatronic (mechanic, electronic, and informatics) engineering or animation, and meme specialists, for example," the president questioned.

Previously, there were 167 industries and 626 SMKs in East Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, which had entered into cooperation agreements in phase I and phase II, so that there were a total of 1,035 SMKs, with 307 companies and 12 thousand teachers who participated in the vocational training program.

"We have to have the courage to go in there (diversifying vocations). Logistics vocation is also needed. The building department should also have window and door engineering vocations. This is what I saw in Germany. Building vocation is too general. What is needed in the cooperation today is a very strategic one," he added.

Besides SMKs, the vocational training also includes two (Islamic) boarding schools, namely the Nurul Iman boarding school and Sunan Drajat boarding school.

"I am glad that link-and-match between industry and vocational schools was seen in the boarding schools. I noticed that the cooperation with the Nurul Iman boarding school was strategic as it taught about the Business Process Outsourcing and about finctech. Both of them have to be included in (boarding schools) if we do not want to be left behind," he stated.

The president also hoped that state companies (SOEs) and large private firms in Indonesia will cooperate with boarding schools.

Jokowi was accompanied by Industry Minister Airlangga Hartanto, Minister of Education and Culture Muhadjir Effendy, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, President Director of Astra International Prijono Sugiarto, and President Director of Astra Otoparts Hamdhani Dzulkarnaen to the event.(rol)

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