Employment remains a critical issue in Indonesia’s current demographic bonus era. With the Indonesia Vision 2045 (Golden Indonesia) in mind, graduates are expected to be innovative workers capable of meeting the challenges of the times.
Additionally, inclusion and ease of access to education are important considerations.
To address these issues, the UGM Vocational College, in collaboration with the Kartu Prakerja Program, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and karier.mu held a national seminar titled “Quality Education for All: Inclusion and Accessibility in Lifelong Learning” on Thursday, September 14.
“We thank all parties involved. It is an honor for us to collaborate with UGM and the Prakerja Program. Our main goal is to connect people with curated learning resources to support their career preparation,” said the COO of karier.mu, Radin Qierra.
“We also want to build awareness to promote the sustainability of existing programs, especially in lifelong learning.”
The collaboration between karier.mu and the UGM Vocational College takes the form of job training through the Kartu Prakerja Program. This training is intended for all Prakerja participants, particularly vocational students who need solid preparation before entering their careers.
Denni Puspa Purbasari, Executive Director of Prakerja, explained how the Prakerja program contributes to realizing the 2045 Vision.
“We have agreed to become a developed country by 2045. For this, our economic income must continue to grow. One of the factors influencing this is the workforce’s quantity. We are currently in a demographic bonus era,” the executive director said.
“Hopefully, this bonus can increase the number of people in the workforce. It’s not just about having more workers; it’s also about increasing productivity. So, it’s not just about having more people, but also about increasing what they produce.”
Although the Prakerja Program is designed to prepare competitive workers, it does not mean higher education can be overlooked. Purbasari emphasized that she did not want the Kartu Prakerja program to create negative sentiments about the importance of higher education.
“Studying at university forms a framework, mindset, and character. That’s what’s more important. So, just because you can work without attending college doesn’t mean college is unimportant,” Purbasari said.
“The Prakerja Program also supports the lifelong learning system, covering ages from 15 to 65 years old. Why do we also include the age group of 50-60? We don’t want this generation to become a sandwich generation.”
Many of the current workforce are part of the sandwich generation, meaning they carry the burden of their parents and families. Therefore, the Kartu Prakerja program also provides skills training for older people to remain productive after retirement.
UGM Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching, Professor Wening Udasmoro, emphasized the importance of applying lifelong learning alongside inclusion and accessibility.
“We sincerely hope that the issues of accessibility and inclusion become a collective movement throughout Indonesia. By focusing on inclusion, the challenges related to employment will have a meaningful impact on those who have not yet had the opportunity,” said the vice-rector.
“Many people in remote areas still have difficulty accessing schools, let alone accessing higher education and quality training. If it was said yesterday that the world is experiencing an economic crisis, I believe Indonesia is not affected. Our economy is strong.”
“Therefore, when there is progress in various sectors, we shouldn’t forget that there are still many members of society who cannot access various services.”
Professor Udasmoro added that inclusion is essential to accommodate vulnerable groups in society, such as retirees, people with disabilities, and those in remote areas. This has been a fundamental pillar of UGM since its inception.
“Inclusion at UGM has existed since birth and is the most important part of UGM. Our research is inclusive, innovative, and impactful for society,” she said.
“We also emphasize comprehensive and sustainable community service. We are pushing for this, how to create a safe, environmentally friendly, healthy, cultured, and socially responsible campus.”
Inclusivity can only be realized with solidarity and empathy from all parties involved, and it cannot be initiated by just one party.
Therefore, the community and stakeholders must know the importance of reaching marginalized communities, vulnerable groups, and those with accessibility issues. This way, social justice and welfare can be achieved alongside economic growth in all sectors.