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close this bookPolicy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific - Conference Proceedings - UNESCO - UNEVOC Regional Conference (RMIT, 1997, 520 p.)
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View the documentUNESCO UNEVOC Regional Conference 1996 - Steering Committee
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View the documentGuidelines for Policy Framework Development for TVE Asia Pacific Region
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View the documentEmerging Directions in Training of TVET Teachers and Trainers in the Asia-Pacific Region
View the documentReasonable Adjustment and Assessment: Strategies to Implement the Principles
View the documentDilemmas in the Pacific
View the documentPublic Expenditure on Education and Training in Australia: Some Basic Data
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View the documentPolicy Development and Implementation to Address the TEVT Needs of Disadvantaged Groups
View the documentThe Role of Technical and Vocational Education on the National Economic Development of Cambodia and that of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Growth Zone
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View the documentPlanning and Provision of Technical Education and Vocational Training in a Rapidly Changing Economy: The Case of Hong Kong
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View the documentEssential Concepts for VET Regional Development
View the documentEmerging Directions in the Training of TVET Teachers and Trainers: The Situation in Fiji
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View the documentPolicy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific: Opening Address
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View the documentUNEVOC's Focus and Approaches to Address Current Trends and Issues in TVE in Asia and the Pacific
View the documentRestructuring of Secondary Education in Bangladesh
View the documentVocational Education: The Indonesian Experience
View the documentSession: Acceptance of TVE Qualifications and Mutual Recognition on a Regional Basis
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View the documentA Plan to Improve and Coordinate Skills Training in Indonesia
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Open this folder and view contentsEmerging Directions in the Training of Technical and Vocational Teachers and Trainers - Indonesia
View the documentThe History of the Preparation of Teachers for Vocational Education and Training at Griffith University
View the documentTechnical Education for the Hi-Tech Era

Vocational Education: The Indonesian Experience

Aljufri B. Syarif

IKIP Padang, Indonesia

Paper Abstract

Since Indonesia's independence 51 years ago, the country's vocational education system has undergone major and radical changes. In consonance with dynamic and global economic and political changes anticipated to exist in the 21st century, educational objectives and strategies are continually being modified in such away so that emphasis is focused to meet the challenges by giving greater priority, to equal opportunity for children to have education, and job. The improvement and changes being made in vocational education system are designed to link and match schools to industries. Link and match approaches have been designed and developed to provide a new operational model.

This paper focuses on national issues of vocational technical education that includes perspectives, barriers, and constraints in relation to attempts of operationalization of the link and match approach.


Vocational education and other employment related to education and training programs have experienced substantial growth throughout the country in the last 50 years. These programs address the employment needs of those seeking job of more than 80 percent of Indonesian that require less than a baccalaureate degree. Annually more than 2 million persons participate in a vast array of employment related to education a training program in the nation's public schools alone. Yet, this number represents only a portion of the total occupational preparation effort that takes place.

Vocational education is a generic term for the component of the system of employment related to education and training that occurs in the nation's public secondary and post-secondary educational institutions. Vocational education consist of programs such as agri-business education, office education, distributive education, home economic education, technical education, and trade and industrial education.

Vocational education is offered throughout the nation in the public sector at secondary, post-secondary, (i.e., Polytechnics and technical institutes) and higher education levels. Instructors in these programs must be technically prepared to teach in their area of occupational specialization. Much of their knowledge is frequently drown from occupational experience and must be combined with sound instructional methods which are learned in professional education programs. Technical education in Indonesia called “Sekolah Teknik Menengah” (STM), and vocational teacher educators provide this preparation called “Fakultas Pendidikan dan Teknologi Kejuruan” (FPTK). A national network of curriculum centers and laboratories is in existence to facilitate the development and dissemination of curriculum. All of these agencies are in need of well-educated vocational education personnel.

A number of employment related to education and training programs are offered throughout the nation and are sponsored by the Department of Labor, Department of commerce, and Department of education. These programs have counterparts at the province and local levels and include a large number of education and training programs. Since many of the clients in these programs are seeking an alternate delivery system to the public schools, special training of the instructional and leadership personnel is required to facilitate these demands.

A substantial number of business and industries support and conduct their own education and training programs. The programs employ managers, and program planner who must be well versed in the unique problems of teaching, curriculum planning, and administration of employment related to education and training programs in the private sectors. In reality, these programs frequently depart only modestly from the structure of vocational education program in the public schools. The fundamental principles of learning, curriculum planning, and instruction, essential to sound vocational education, are just as a pertinence for private sector programs.

There are enormous training challenges facing Indonesia. Indonesia is at the stage of its economic development where a modern sector is emerging alongside a still large traditional agricultural based economy. As a result, Indonesia must provide training appropriate to and industrial an urban society as well as that suitable for a poorer, rural based society. Indonesia's official unemployment rate is low, but the numbers of people who are underemployed, that is, who work less than 35 hours as week, are estimated by the Government to be more than 30 percent of the work force.

Indonesia's economic development to nowadays has been able to rely on the country's plentiful natural resources and abundant supply of low cost of the unskilled and semi skilled labor. But, as all agree, Indonesia's future industrialization will need to rely far more on a more technically skilled and productive work force.

The curriculum for the vocational-technical school “Sekolah Teknik Menengah” (STM) was changed five times. The first time was in 1952 and used the Dutch system, “MTS” (Midlebare Technishe School). In the revision of the curriculum the emphasis was placed on theory rather than practice. Another revision was made in 1976 but the stress was on practice rather than theory.

The curriculum was revised because:

1. Rapid technological developments required an appropriate amendment of skills. In order to satisfy this condition, the technical content of the STM curriculum had to be changed. In fact, some courses and programs were dropped and new ones developed;

2. The increasing complexity of technical skills and the increasing need for specialized training in industries that developed in Indonesia, require adjustment of STM's curriculum to meet this new situation; and,

3. developments and innovations in the method of instruction.

Beginning in 1976, the STM curriculum was revamped and it now follows a new model called “Curricula '76.” The difference between the old and the new curricula can be seen in Table 1. The goals of the new curriculum were to foster an integrated personality, to train for basic skills, knowledge, and attitudes and to create new jobs. The new curriculum does not only prepare students to get jobs and proceed with their studies, but it also encourages and stimulates students to create new jobs. It is hoped that these new goals would not only produce technicians and tradesmen to fulfill industries' requirements but also to stimulate new small industries to grow and expand.

Indonesia does not presently have enough skilled technicians and tradesmen to support its industries. Therefore, the STMs play a vital role in bridging this gap. Consequently, course content and its orientations are adjusted to the new philosophy. Practically oriented and clearly stated objectives are their main characteristics. Practice in a centralized workshop (BLPT) makes up 40% of all contact hours in an STM.

Course organizations, learning experiences, facilities and teachers' skills must be fitted to the new need. Since Indonesia's population growth is high, it predicted that the number of students in the coming five years will be doubled. This means that the quality of instruction and school capacities ought to be developed simultaneously. The implication of this is an urgent need to prepare teachers in large numbers.

Table 1: A Differences between 1954 and 1976's STM curriculum


The '1954 curriculum

The 1976's curriculum


· to prepare students to get a job
· to prepare students to get higher education

· to build an integrated personality
· to train basic skills, knowledge and attitudes for working and creating a job.


· more theoretical than practical

· more practical than theoretical
· teach only theories which support practices

Graduate classifications

· unclear relationship between students' abilities and skills needed in industries

· STMP produce senior technicians
· STM produce tradesman


· 90-95% theory;
· 5-10% practice
· Curriculum unit is designed for quarterly system

· *an integrated curriculum relevant to the goals
· divided into two categories, general subjects and engineering
· Curriculum unit is designed for semester systems

Learning experiences

· Teacher oriented
· teacher designed lesson plans

· student oriented
· national committee provide teaching materials

Equipment and materials

· not adequate

· provided by central government

In implementing the above curriculum, the Indonesian government, through the first World Bank projects has built five Technical Training Center (BLPTs) that is in Medan, Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and Ujung Pandang. Each BLPT is fed by four or five feeder schools which comprise the mentioned “new STMs”

In 1979, FPTK IKIP Padang and FPTK IKIP Yogyakarta were developed to increase the supply of new STM teachers and to aid in the implementation of the development of the new STM curriculum as well. With funding from the Fourth World Bank Project, FPTK IKIP Padang and Yogyakarta simultaneously built four BLPTs at Padang, Palembang, Yogyakarta, and Semarang. Eighty STMs were also developed to implement the new STM curriculum through the Dutch fond. It was hoped that all STMs in the coming five years would be able to use the new curriculum.

To attain these objectives, FPTK IKIP Padang and FPTK IKIP Yogyakarta had increased their capacities and their efficiency. New buildings were built and 168 staff members were recruited, more 28 of them were trained in technical skills and teaching methods in the United Kingdom. Thirteen teaching staffs had been upgraded in various universities in the United States. Modern Laboratories and workshops had been installed and various new techniques were introduced and implemented in order to achieve effective and efficient teaching and learning results.

Probably this is the most integrative reform ever made in vocational education in Indonesia. Three parties involved in this reform: industries, higher education which produced vocational teacher, and government. Even though the objectives had been achieved, the cost of learning was probably quite high. Unfortunately, less than 20 percent of vocational technical education were participated in this program due to lack of resources (equipment, professional teachers, etc.). Therefore there is a need to make vocational school run efficiently.

The third step of changing called curriculum 1984. At that periods, the emphasis was on teaching and learning processes. Four major point can be identified: developing vocational school as a whole, finding industry as a school partners, introducing “production unit”, and providing school management information system.

Nine program have been introduced:

1. Regrouping program offers
2. Renewing courses
3. Refreshing teachers competence
4. Introducing professional evaluation
5. Introducing career guidance
6. Identifying entry behaviors of students
7. Conducting a tracer study
8. Renewing equipment and machines
9. Developing operational of vocational education.

A lot of progress have been made, student population had increased almost doubled. On the other hand, within five years, industry had changed drastically. They need more skillful worker to operate high tech equipment. In order to facilitate these changes probably we need a flexible training programs which involve two parties government and industries. This program is called Link and Match program.

Link and match approach

Various initiatives are being taken by the Government in response to these challenges. In particular, there is a desire in Government to have industry actively participate in formal training programs. As Indonesia's Minister of Education and Culture, Dr. Wardiman Djojonegoro, has said: “Only by linking our education and training system the 'world of work' can match the quantity and quality requirements for manpower in the productive sectors. In this condition, we hope to make genuine progress in improving human resource development in Indonesia”. This program was introduced to vocational education in 1994.

Application of the Government's “Link and Match” approach can be seen in the emergence of apprenticeship programs involving vocational high schools and also Ministry of Manpower Training Centers. The three year courses are designed around what the companies themselves have identified as the skills and competency levels their need. Trainees spend some of their time in the schools and on the job in the companies where they work and receive instruction. There is no obligation of the companies to employ them at the end of their apprenticeship but they are paid a wage by the companies while they are in the program.

Changing of vocational education from traditional approach to link and match approach required changing of belief and implementation of vocational managers. The basic concept of Link and match program is sharing responsibilities between government and industries in four areas: planning, implementation, evaluation, and accreditation stages. By this approach, it is hoped that deviation between quality of work force produced by vocational education and work force needed by industries can be minimized. The comparison between traditional and link & match approaches are described in Table 2.

Table 2

Coloration between traditional approach and link & match approaches of vocational education in Indonesia


Link & Match


Education for the sake of education

Education for the sake of integral part of Human resources development


Only Indonesian government has authority to define the vision and the mission of vocational education

Sharing responsibilities between government and industries to define vision an the mission of vocational education

Place of learning

Mainly executed in school

executed both in school and industry


Focused on attainability of curriculum

focused on competency based training


Centralised (based on written document)

Decentralised (based on innovation and improvisation)


Split rigorously between training and education

Integrate system between training and education

Financial support by


government Partially

Yet at present, the skills of the workforce are not commensurate to the requirements of growing modern industrial sectors - manufacturing, construction, tourism, banking and so on as well as in the resources fields of mining and agribusiness. Business and industry often complain of difficulties obtaining middle level workers with technical and trades skills, as well as supervisory and financial skills. The increasing demand of workforce between 1982 and 1994 were described in Table 3. Nearly two and half million workers can be positioned each years.

At national level there is a vocational advisory board called (Majelis Pendidikan Kejuruan Nasional, MPKN) which associated with certain employers, labor union, professional organization, and government. Their roles are to advise Minister of education on the policy and strategy of vocational education and others employment related to education and training programs. Besides hopefully they can estimate and initiate collaboration between industries and school in areas of planning, implementations, and evaluation of training programs.

Table 3

Indonesia's employment distribution




Number (million)


Number (million)


Agriculture, forestry, fishing















Electricity, gas & water










Wholesale & retail trade, hotels & restaurants





Transportation & Communication





Finance and business services





Public services















It is clear that this program was adopted from Germany which gives more emphasis on enterpreneurship and apprenticeship. Eventhough it is too early to comment on this program, general appearance after two years of implementation, I can describe briefly as follows: This model might be more flexible than the old ones, but only a few industries which participate in this programs.


Two radical changes have been made in areas of Indonesian vocational education. In 1976, all effort were given to consolidate resources needed for effective program. In 1994 link and match program government and society share responsibility to run vocational training has been launched. Rapid progress in science and technology influences vocational training, make training more complicated, and more expensive.

Partial policy in developing school program can be costly because a lot of equipment can not be used any more. Probably, general approach, job seeking skill and job keeping skill must be introduced in every vocational education and other employment related to education and training programs. In this approach it seems that occupational survey get less attention in development of vocational programs. It is impossible developes effective and efficient vocational training program without having studied the occupational trend.