Indonesia supports dual apprenticeship-based vocational education

“Experience is the best teacher,” says Agus Santoso, Director of the Nutritional Technologies course at the POLIJE state polytechnic school in Jember, Indonesia. In the same breath, he refers to the lack of hands-on practice in study courses. The Skills for Competitiveness (S4C) project develops customised course curricula together with representatives from the industrial sector. Future graduates will be qualified to meet modern industry’s demands for hands-on practical experience.

Already as a young teacher, Agus Santoso believed that study courses at the POLIJE state polytechnic school lacked a practical component. Training and continuing education in agricultural production are not enough to be called a qualified polytechnic education.
Agus Santoso took the initiative, and along with his teaching, continued his education in food processing technologies. This allowed him to build a production lab for the Polytechnic, which brought the school considerable recognition by the industry association.

Collaboration between polytechnics and private companies

Regardless of such individual initiatives: POLIJE and other polytechnics lack up-to-date, modern industrial inputs. Which professional capacities and skills are currently in demand? Identifying industrial companies and getting them to participate in workshops for developing teaching curricula is a primary characteristic of the DACUM method that the Skills for Competitiveness (S4C) project applies. DACUM is short for “Develop A CUrriculuM”, i.e. the development of modern teaching curricula.

Agus Santoso welcomes the DACUM method, which makes the curriculum closer to the industry needs. In the past the curricula for all courses were developed internally without involving industry representatives, only facilitated by an external advisor. During his 27-year career, he has already taught six subjects to more than 1,000 students. He developed at least six different curricula, each approved by the Ministry of Education. “While each course has its own specifications, all include the creation of social and professional skills,” says Agus Santoso. The teacher criticises the curricula used until now, because “some even were designed to make ‘robot workers’ with no social skills.” Fortunately, this was improved through the introduction of additional non-technical content such as industrial sociology, ethics, and research methodologies.

Apprenticeship workshops for fish conservation

In light of the curricula developed with the DACUM approach and reflecting the needs of industry, the Polytechnic plans to set up apprenticeship workshops called “teaching factories” for students. The S4C project currently offers technical support for a new teaching factory in fish conservation at POLIJE.
Along with representatives from the industry, there are also Indonesian government officials, select industrial associations, and the polytechnic association involved in the project. Together with the polytechnics, they are working together to develop and strengthen a dual tertiary vocational education system in Indonesia.
S4C is financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by Swisscontact in a consortium together with the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH-CDC) and the Association for Swiss International Technical Connection (SITECO).