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In a world where technology and the economy are constantly evolving, the workforce is also undergoing significant changes. To thrive, organizations must adapt or risk falling behind. One key solution to navigating this evolving workforce is to prioritize skills over degrees and shift the focus of education from theoretical knowledge to practical, real-world applications.

The importance of skills over degrees

Indonesia is a rapidly developing country with a young and growing population. As the economy continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for skilled workers who can meet the needs of the industry. However, many graduates from traditional educational institutions lack the practical skills that employers are looking for.

This skills gap is a major challenge for Indonesia’s economic development, as it limits the country’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

With the complexities of job requirements, the (digital) jobs require specific skills that can only be acquired through hands-on experience and training. As a result, the value of traditional degrees is being challenged, and the focus is shifting towards skills-based hiring.

While a degree used to be the gold standard for job seekers, it is no longer the only factor that employers consider. Employers are now looking for candidates with relevant skills and experience, regardless of their educational background.

This shift in priorities has led to the rise of alternative forms of education, such as industry-demand enablement courses and vocational training programs.

These alternatives provide specialized training that can be completed in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost than traditional degrees.

Why traditional education is not enough?

Traditional education systems focus on theoretical knowledge rather than practical skills. While this may be sufficient for certain professions, such as law or medicine, it is not enough for many others. In fields such as technology and engineering, practical skills are just as important as academic qualifications. Without hands-on experience and training, graduates may struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing demands of the industry.

Why must employers care?

Skills driven by industry demand provide employers with the specific skills they need to fill existing job vacancies. They also help to bridge the skills gap between education and industry, ensuring that graduates are prepared for the workforce.

How will skill over degree benefits Indonesia?

Skills driven by industry demand offer benefits our society as a whole. For individuals, they provide a competitive edge in the job market, as well as increased earning potential and career advancement opportunities. For society, they contribute to economic growth and development, as well as helping to address the skills gap and unemployment.

According to a study by the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that currently do not exist. By focusing on skills rather than degrees, Indonesia can produce graduates who are more versatile and better equipped to handle the unknown challenges of the future.

How can Indonesia implement a skills-based education system?

  1. Curriculum update: The curriculum should put more emphasize on skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and adaptability. These skills should be taught across all subjects and at all levels of education.
  2. Assessment reform: The current assessment system should be reformed to prioritize skills over degrees. This could involve more project-based assessments and less emphasis on written exams.
  3. Vocational training: Vocational training programs should be expanded to provide students with hands-on experience in specific industries. This will help them develop the skills they need to succeed in their chosen careers.
  4. Internships and apprenticeships: Students should be encouraged to participate in internships and apprenticeships to gain practical work experience in specific industries.
  5. Teacher training: Teachers should be trained to focus on skills development rather than content delivery. This will require a shift in pedagogy and teaching methods.
  6. Collaboration with industry: Educators should collaborate with industry leaders to ensure that the skills being taught are relevant to the jobs of tomorrow.
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