Government pushes youth to take vocational education route

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(left to right) drg. Ahmad Syaify and Prof. Agus Sartono. Dentists in Indonesia must spread their wings to ASEAN. (photo: UGM Doc)

IO, Yogyakarta – Over the next five years, the government will be pushing high school and vocational high school students to continue their education in vocational schools. Currently, the government is in the midst of preparing around 500 vocational schools in cities where they believe economic growth is centered. Access to these vocational schools will be eased via Indonesia Smart Cards (KIP) for college, aimed at reducing poverty by helping disadvantaged children obtain higher education and enter the workforce.

The plan was announced by Deputy Minister of Education and Religion of the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture Prof. Agus Sartono during his keynote speech in the international seminar “The Future of Oral Health Care in Indonesia” held by the UGM Faculty of Dentistry in the senate hall, UGM Central Building, Friday (28/6).

Agus explained that every year more than 3.5 million youths graduate from high school and vocational high school, while current college and universities only have a capacity for around 1.8 million. Almost half of the graduates do not end up going to university. This has resulted in 65% of the workforce only having a basic education, 25% with a middling education, and 10% a higher education. “As a result, we are developing 500 vocational schools in economic growth centers,” said Agus, as quoted by UGM’s Public Relations Division.

According to Agus, vocational education is being focused on to increase the quality of the workforce and to push an increase in prosperity for poverty-stricken families. “We are pushing the youth to go into vocational schools by giving the KIP. We have chosen vocational education because we hope that that vocation can them become prosperous, cut the poverty rate, and enable some to go to university.”

On the role of dentists and dental nurses, Agus recommended that graduates from the faculty of dentistry no longer look for jobs domestically but in other ASEAN countries. Dentists and dental nurses could increase their qualifications via certification from related institutes recognized internationally. “Don’t look at the domestic market now. Rather, think about working in the ASEAN region by improving your qualifications. If not, we will be threatened with the arrival of skilled foreign workers,” said Agus.

Head of Deputy Coordination for Health Improvement of the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture drg. Agus Suprapto, M.Kes., stated that solving the disparity in healthcare services between regions in Indonesia was still a priority for the government. According to him, the disparity was caused by healthcare service and awareness programs still being unequally distributed.

Agus quoted the results of a national dental healthcare survey done recently, which showed that only 2.8% of Indonesians above three years of age brush their teeth twice daily. “I think this is happening become of the lack of effort to promote dental and oral care, along with the unequal distribution of dentists,” he said.

UGM Faculty of Dentistry Dean Dr. drg. Ahmad Syaify, DDS, M.Clin., in his opening speech at the beginning of the seminar stated that the dentistry and dental nursing profession must begin to follow the development of science and technology to advance its abilities in serving the populace. “Dentists and dental care experts must pay attention to those kinds of developments,” said the Dean. (est)