Business suffer from uncompetitive workforce
Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Improving the national education system is the key to making workers more efficient and productive, Indonesia's Chamber of Commerce (Kadin) says.
At a human development seminar organized by Kadin on Tuesday, it was revealed that Indonesia's competitiveness in the global market dropped last year from 2004.
Citing a 2005 World Economic Forum survey on global competitiveness Kadin deputy chairman Hariyadi B. Sukamdani told participants that Indonesia last year ranked 74 worldwide in terms of competitiveness, dropping five places from 2004's ranking. That placing was a far cry from 1997, where the country was the world's 15th-most competitive nation.
Hariyadi blamed much of the country's low competitiveness on the workforce's poor performance, which he said was a result of a bad education system.
Efficiency and productivity are key indicators in the survey.
"One of Indonesia's main problems behind human development issues is the poor educational system the country currently has," he said.
Psychologist Sartono Mukadis, a speaker at the conference, said the problem was not only the education system but also the people involved in it.
Citing a study conducted on dozens of state enterprises, Sartono said that the higher a person's rank in an office, the lower their need to achieve.
"Apart from that, high-ranking officers also tend to develop more and more appetite for power," Sartono said.
"We can say that in Indonesia, going to go to school and getting an education is somewhat more motivated by the need to obtain power and profit instead of the love of knowledge itself.
"Hard work is something that is not desired by most in the Indonesian workforce. The impact on the business sector is clear. It creates the low competitiveness in the workforce," he said.
Unless something drastic is done to reform the education system, Sartono and Hariyadi said, Indonesia would continue to lag behind other developing countries in terms of competitiveness, derailing efforts to boost production and economic growth.