In an effort to improve the vocational education system, the government has invited business players to contribute in an expanded role to shape the curriculum and set the skill standards relevant to the demands of the job market.
Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by five ministries on Tuesday, the government will involve industry players to develop a curriculum and provide additional instructors for vocational schools. Business players are also expected to provide internship opportunities and on-site training programs for both students and teachers.
Five ministers – Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto, Research and Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir, Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno and Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri – signed the MoU on Tuesday, witnessed by Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution and Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani.
"After the MoU, there will be a lot of things to do, such as setting up the system and providing infrastructure for the schools,” Darmin said.
As a pilot project under the MoU, three companies have been tasked to work with 20 vocational high schools (SMKs). Fertilizer maker Petrokimia Gresik will work together with seven SMKs in East Java, automotive giant Astra Honda Motor with nine SMKs in Banten and South Sulawesi and polypropylene producer Polytama Propindo with four SMKs in West Java.
The MoU is also a follow up on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s recent call to make sure that vocational schools equip students with the practical skills needed to meet industry demands.