Wed, 31 Aug 1994

Team to better prepare workers to be sent abroad

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration has formed a joint team to work out a plan on manpower as part of the efforts to improve the competitiveness of Indonesians working abroad.

Soegiyo, the chairman of the City Council's Commission E on social welfare, said yesterday that the joint team includes members of the City Council and officials from the City Manpower Office. According to him, the team will review the facilities and curriculums of the city-owned manpower training institutes.

"The plan is designed to better prepare those who want to enter the job market, especially those who want to work overseas," Soegiyo said.

He added that the existing facilities and curriculums at the five city-owned training centers needed to be improved in order to produce quality workers who could measure up to internationally accredited standards.

"The training should be directed to meet the demands of the international job market," Soegiyo said.

Soegiyo said that workers abroad could be used as a source of foreign exchange for Indonesia just like in the Philippines, where foreign workers where the second largest source of the country's foreign exchange.

"Why can't Indonesia, which has plenty of workers, boast of the quality of it's manpower as well?," Soegiyo asked.

Soegiyo said that as a first step, the team was thinking about introducing a plan in which the city administration will finance the training of a group of poor, jobless high school graduates at the city-owned training institutes and then send them to work abroad.

After working abroad for a few years, they would be required to return the cost of the tuition fees. These funds would then be used to send another group abroad.

Soegiyo said the team will cooperate with the city-owned Bank DKI to give loans to the trainees in order to finance their travel costs.

The training of the workers, Soegiyo said, is necessary because private agencies which send Indonesian workers abroad are concerned only with manpower supply and do not prepare the workers to meet market demands.

As a result, Indonesia cannot meet the international market demand for educated manpower, Soegiyo said. "Our manpower is, on the whole, still poorly prepared in terms of skills and the mastery of the English language," he added.

The number of jobseekers which registered last year at the Jakarta Office of the Ministry of Manpower numbered 183,482 -- 117,388 of whom were high school graduates, 47,379 graduates from various vocational schools equal to high school, 8,212 college/academy graduates and 10,503 who were university graduates. (arf).