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Small World Convergence: We’re all dealing with the same problems September 28, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Workforce.
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In my semi-regular blog search, I came across this blog entry regarding the poor Indonesian economy. (Love that Technorati! You never know what will come up in a search.) The Manpower and Transmigration Minister engaged in a question and answer session with the media about the unemployment situation, and I’d suggest you pay attention to the answers he gives:

What is the root problem of unemployment?

Untrained human resources is the root cause. According to a recent international survey on quality of human resources, Indonesia ranked 59th among 60 developing countries surveyed, just below Vietnam. Of the 106 million-strong work force, 18 percent have never attended school, 36 percent are elementary school graduates and dropouts, 20 percent are junior high school graduates, 21 percent are senior high school graduates and less than 6 percent are academy and university graduates.

The industries have offered numerous job opportunities but they cannot be filled because of the absence people or lack of competence.

The low quality of human resources has a lot to do with the poor education situation. The education program is not linked with the labor market.

Why is this so?

I have raised this issue in several Cabinet meetings and with the coordinating minister for people’s welfare, but until now, no initiatives have been taken to build better coordination with the education ministry to address the issue. Sector and departmental egoism is still strong.

Unemployment is a national issue and needs a national movement and strong coordination to address it. The education revitalization program will not achieve significant progress if all stakeholders do not play their roles and there is no link and match between national education and the labor market.

There are a number of common threads in the problems of unemployment in Indonesia and those in the United States. Specifically, the lack of skills in the unemployed workforce. The fact that they are dealing with a workforce with low education levels. The quote, “The industries have offered numerous job opportunities but they cannot be filled because of the absence people or lack of competence,” also is telling. And the need to promote economic development efforts.

I appreciate the Minister’s blunt and frank assessment of the unemployment situation. He’s wise to acknowledge (and perhaps address) root cause issues. If he can overcome the apparent political hurdles, perhaps they’ll move forward.

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