Tech-Centric Train Academy to Be Completed Next Year
Fidelis E. Satriastanti
With demand for train transportation on the rise as Indonesia’s population grows and the development of its infrastructure accelerates, the new national railway academy is nearing completion with construction set to finish next year.
The yet-to-be-named school, located in Madiun, East Java, will provide a much-needed supply of people who know what they’re doing when it comes to trains, said Bobby Mamahit, the head of the Transportation Human Resources Development Agency.
There is already one train-related school, the Land Transportation College in Bekasi, but it sticks to managerial skills, Bobby said. The new school will focus the technical aspects.
“Its graduates will be railroad machinists, inspectors and other operating professions,” he said.
Classes will start in 2014, he said, with 60 students, none older than 23, making up the first batch. That initial group will be provided with scholarships and geared toward fulfilling immediate government needs, Mamahit said, and after that the school would open to the public.
“We’ll be focusing on Java, which has high demand for train transportation,” he said.
Based on the National Train Transportation Plan, the sector’s human resources needs by 2030 are projected at 200 people for planning and administration, 800 people for train utility testers, 470 people for train infrastructure testers and 250 people for auditors and inspectors.
For operators, Indonesia will need 2,500 people for managerial positions, 45,600 people to check maintain and operate utilities and 30,640 people for to similarly oversee the railroad’s necessary infrastructure.
Madiun was chosen as the site of the academy because state train supplier Industry Kereta Api (Inka) was based there, Mamahit said. Lecturers will include senior officials from transportation institutions and universities, he added.
“I’m sure we can find qualified lecturers because trains have been in Indonesia since the Dutch occupation,” he said.
It was important the academy had high standards, he continued, given Indonesia’s increased reliance on trains. He cited Transportation Ministry data showing train use had increased 15 percent from 2000 to 2009. For long-distance travel on Java, that figure increased a whopping 40 percent since 2005, going up more than 7 percent per year.
State railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia has its own school, but it was not enough to meet all the nation’s needs, Mamahit said.
Djoko Setijowarno, the coordinator of the Train Transportation Society (MTI), said the academy was a necessity if the government was serious about managing train transportation, which it should be as there were big new projects planned.
“We need special education for this because current education doesn’t get into the details,” he said.