East Asia Cooperates on Education
Yogyakarta. Indonesia is set to share its experiences in running vocational schools and standardizing teacher quality with other East Asian countries as part of a program series being discussed at a meeting of regional education ministers.
Indonesia will take part in at least three of 13 programs whose plans are being finalized at the three-day East Asia Summit Education Ministers Meeting, which kicked off in Yogyakarta on Tuesday.
Harris Iskandar, the secretary of the Education and Culture Ministry’s Directorate General of Higher Education, said that Indonesia would take the lead in two of the programs.
“The first is vocational education and the second is teacher standardization,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
In the vocational school development program, Indonesia will work exclusively with India to help education officials there set up a curriculum for vocational schools. The program will include sharing best practices. As part of the teacher quality standardization program, Indonesia will work with Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand and the Philippines.
Ananta Kusuma Seta, the head of the Education and Culture Ministry’s human resources development and educational quality assurance board, said Indonesia had “abundant experience” with vocational schools.
“Students at our vocational schools have even been known to assemble airplanes,” he said, referring to a school in Jakarta that in April unveiled a working aircraft its students had built.
“Our schools are very well-developed. That’s why India is interested in doing the project with us.”
Although it will lead the program, Indonesia stands to gain from working with its counterpart, Ananta said.
“India will also share their experiences,” he said. “We are going to learn from each other.”
The third program in which Indonesia will take part is on the standardization of university qualifications, which Harris said could have a major long-term impact in improving the quality of the country’s human resources.
The program will involve sending Indonesian students overseas to study, he said. The students will be expected to meet academic qualifications in the four other countries involved in the program: India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam.
Ananta said Indonesia was keen to embark on the program soon.
“Once we attain standardization, Indonesian graduates will be able to work in India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam,” he said.
The ministers’ meeting is being attended by all 10 Asean member states as well as officials from South Korea, China, Japan, the United States, Russia, New Zealand, India and Australia.
Ananto said the programs were part of wider efforts to close the education quality gap among East Asian countries.