Excellent Workers Must Not Be Culturally Blind
(UKWMS-26/2/2020) – There is an opportunity for Indonesian people to get out of the middle income trap. It is called the demographic bonus period. Demographic bonus is a period when the population of productive age (15-64 years) is greater than the population of non-productive age. This period will peak in 2030 when the population of productive age reaches 64 percent.
The demographic bonus will be a golden opportunity for Indonesian people to build superior resources of human labors (workers) as the main capital of development. However, it also serves as a double-edged knife, meaning that if it cannot be utilized properly, it can be a source of major socio-economic problems.
This issue regarding the demographic bonus phenomenon was discussed further at the 2020 Business Outlook general lecture with the theme “Indonesia’s Superior Resources of Human Workers are Heading towards the Peak Demographic Bonus in 2030.” This event was held by the Faculty of Business of Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 and attended by WMSCU academic community. Two important speakers participated in the general lecture: Dr. Drs. H. Ali Mochtar Ngabalin, M.Sc., who serves as the Principal Expert Deputy IV of the Presidential Staff Office of the Republic of Indonesia, and Prof. Anita Lie, MA., Ed.D., as a Professor in WMSCU with an expertise in Education Curriculum.
While speaking about the development of Indonesian workers in the future, Ngabalin emphasized several things that need to be paid attention. Some of these include the need for building strong faith and character, awareness of culture, and education in order to produce excellent workers. “Indonesian human resources must have intellectual knowledge so they can translate what they think for the outside world. In addition, it is also necessary to strengthen their language ability so that their thoughts can be communicated to the international world,” explained Ngabalin.
Ngabalin further added that in regards to culture, intellectual knowledge is also important to maintain a pluralistic Indonesian culture. He highlighted the issue of extremism that has been occurring in the country, as well as actions taken by the government in connection with these problems. Ngabalin also said that regardless of the ethnicity and religion of a person, every Indonesian has the same right to live in Indonesia.
This point was then appreciated by Prof. Anita Lie as part of the preparation that Indonesia must do for the demographic bonuses. “I think political stability is central to the development of human resources and the country,” she said.
In terms of education, Prof. Anita Lie discusses various statistical data related to human resources, such as Indonesia’s human capital index, which is still below the neighboring countries like Malaysia and Thailand. Anita further criticized the school participation rates which although are already good, but still poor in quality. She found that there is still an unevenly distributed quality of learning achievements throughout the many Indonesian territories.
“In my opinion, improving the quality of teachers is also needed. The number of teachers is now three millions, which means that one teacher can teach up to 16 children. Furthermore, in terms of the budget for education, more attention should be given. Has the government been implementing spending much or spending smart?” she said. She then added that with these existing challenges, young people must be wide-awake in preparing themselves, starting from now.