Polytechnic Centre of Technology in Indonesia

By Dr. Adie E. Yusuf, MA.

Academic Specialist, ADB Grant: Polytechnic Education Development Project, 2017.


Well educated technicians are essential to enabling the transition of Indonesia to higher-technology jobs and increasing the value of production. Striving for higher productivity and competitiveness, the government has strengthened its emphasis on developing technical and vocational education which is reflected in enhanced investments in polytechnic education. The PEDP project will support Indonesia’s economic development by increasing the supply of highly skilled workers in five sectors of the economy. This will be facilitated by improving links between polytechnics and enterprises. The project will help the Directorate General of Learning and Student Affairs (DGLSA) implement an integrated approach to improve the quality of polytechnic study programs and skills-development services that (i) ensures relevance to employers, (ii) expands access for vocational school graduates and others interested in developing higher level skills, (iii) builds the capacity of teaching staff and administrators, and (iv) upgrades facilities and equipment to better impart to learners job-ready skills. The project will help strengthen and implement the Indonesia Qualification Framework (IQF) to support quality assurance and recognize prior learning to expand applicants’ access to high-quality skills-development services available through selected polytechnic institutions. In general the project has four outputs: (i) improved quality and relevance of the polytechnic system; (ii) expanded and more equitable access to polytechnic institutions; (iii) greater private sector involvement in, and promotion of, entrepreneurial culture to strengthen polytechnic graduate competitiveness; and (iv) strengthened governance and management of polytechnic education. The impact will be the improved polytechnic education system to produce graduates responsive to the needs of the labour market and contribute toward increasing productivity in the Priority Sectors.

Objectives, Output and Outcomes

The objectives of COT project are: 1) provide graduates with relevant skills, competencies, and attitudes needed by the industry; 2) bridge between polytechnic and industries for improving capabilities and resource sharing, so that Polytechnic Education remain relevant to the industrial needs; 3) create opportunities for generating revenues for improving and maintaining quality services of the polytechnic. The specific outputs for each of the selected polytechnics are as follows:

  • Polytechnics operation system strengthened to meet the requirements of being ready to be assessed for PTN- BLU status in accordance with the legal status document;
  • Model COT developed to establish effective partnerships between the selected polytechnics and relevant industry/technology in the province/region in order to improve quality and relevance of polytechnic education and to prepare graduates for jobs in the industries.
  • A business plan developed to serve as a management tool to help the polytechnics progress toward the objective of becoming semi-autonomous with a well- developed COT;
  • Increase the technical capacity of polytechnics managers and lecturers based on strategy, model COT and business plan that were developed.
  • A monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system and manual developed to monitor progress of implementation of the strategy, model COT, and business plan;
  • A human resource system developed to produce human resources needed by the industries;
  • A learning network system established among the six selected polytechnics with the provision for further expansion to provide access to other polytechnics and vocational institutions in the province and or region.

The outcome will be improved polytechnic education in five priority economic sectors particularly at the selected polytechnics. The performance targets are (i) the number of polytechnic students enrolled in study programs in the five priority sectors increased by 25%, with at least 30% of students being female, and (ii) the number of polytechnic graduates finding relevant employment within 6 months of graduation increased by 25% in five priority sectors, including at least a 15% increase for women.

Current Conditions

Currently, Indonesia has 4,400 higher education institutions, including some 300 community Colleges and 32 public and 140 private polytechnic Institutions. Out of this total, 26 institutions are accredited at A level or excellence and 302 institutions attain B level or meet the minimum standard criteria. Data also indicate that out of 24.638 study programs, 7,524 are unaccredited or unrecognized, 42 percent of all lecturers is unqualified (possess mainly undergraduate degrees); only 6-7 percent of the total study programs is accredited as excellence. For legal status of institutions, data also show that only 11 public universities meet the criteria of PT BH; 24 earn the status of PT BLU, 86 are classified as SATKER of which 6 are polytechnics of this project.

At present the country’s polytechnic institutions have limited capacity to address the growing demand for labour supply with advanced skills. Feedback from employers reveals that many graduates from polytechnic institutions need to be retrained as their knowledge and skills do not match requirements of the workplace. Training programs and curriculum that are taught in the polytechnics are considered outdated and do not respond to the requirements of industries. Despite a high demand for skilled workers, graduates of weak polytechnics were reported as having difficulties in securing employment (some take more than 12 months or longer).

Polytechnic Challenges

Although polytechnic education system in Indonesia faces many challenges, in this report only 6 key issues will be discussed together with initiatives to be introduced under the project to address the challenges. Low level of women participation in polytechnic education especially in technology disciplines.

  • Poor quality of students entering polytechnics
  • Lack of a well-integrated system to support a dual system in polytechnics.
  • Skills mismatch and lack of competencies required by industries among polytechnic graduates
  • Inappropriate learning approaches adopted by polytechnic lecturers and trainers
  • Limited cooperation between polytechnics and private industries
  • Lack of a comprehensive human resource system and policy to address personnel issues in polytechnics

Low Level of woman Participation in Polytechnic

Statistics relating to the economy, labour force requirements and status of women participation in the labour market in Indonesia show that while demand for skilled workers will continue to increase in 2030 women participation rate in the labour force remains low. In 2012 Indonesia was the 16th largest economy in the world with 55 million skilled workers. The size of the economy will more than double in the next 15 years with the expectation that Indonesia will become the 7th largest economy in the world and will require 113 million skilled workers in 2030. This is on top of the projection that the labour markets of ASEAN Economic Community will require 14 million workers in 2025. For Indonesia although women comprise half of the total population their participation in the labour market is quite low especially when compared to men. Statistics show that as of February 2016, while men participation rate in the labour market was 83.4% the rate for women was merely 52.1%. The low rate of women participation in the labour market requires serious efforts from policy makers and those involved in providing education, training, and employment for girls and women to increase access and opportunities for them especially in technological fields of studies and employment.

Poor quality of students entering polytechnic

One reason that attributes to perceived weakness of polytechnic education is due to poor student selection and preparation to attract qualified and motivated students to study at polytechnics. If students are not well-equipped academically and are not technologically inclined to benefit from the programs and services offered by polytechnics, they will not be able to capitalize on the expertise and resources available from the institutions. Quality of education and reputation of the polytechnics will suffer. It is important to address the quality issue in a holistic manner including admitting mainly qualified students who want to acquire knowledge and skills needed to enter labour markets especially in the private sector. Therefore, it is equally or even more important for the policy makers to introduce innovative measures to attract highly qualified and motivated students and prepare them to be well equipped to benefit fully from the education programs and services offered at the polytechnics including scholarships for meritorious students especially girls who want to enrol in the priority industries under the project

Lack of a well-integrated system of Tri Darma

Polytechnics are expected to produce skilled workers for industries. Lecturers are expected to perform Tri-Darma, teaching, applied research, and community services, in their duties which are also the functions of the polytechnics. Students are expected to acquire knowledge and practical skills through a dual system via internships in industries. However, in some parts of the country opportunities for internships are limited because of the shortage of industries and businesses in the regions or areas surrounding the polytechnics. To address this issue polytechnics are expected to establish a “teaching factory” within the polytechnics to provide opportunities for students to acquire practical skills required by industries. This arrangement requires the polytechnics to integrate teaching, applied research, and community services to form a strong foundation for practical skills acquisition and development by the students. Lecturers are therefore expected to integrate these three functions in their overall responsibilities. Under the project these functions will be accomplished by establishing a Center of Technology (COT) at polytechnics. COT is expected to help establish and/ or strengthen partnerships with industries through dual system arrangements or to serve as a teaching factory within the polytechnics in case there are limited or no opportunities for establishing partnerships (i.e., dual program) with industries.

Skills mismatch and lack of competencies required by industries.

One reason that polytechnics graduates have difficulties finding employment in industries is their lack of relevant competencies required by industries. The curriculum and teaching learning practices in polytechnics mostly do not directly respond to job requirements and needs of the labour markets. Hence, employers claim that the graduates need to be retrained before they are able to carry out job assignments in industrial settings. The project recognizes this shortcoming and will address the issue by implementing a competency-based curriculum especially in the priority programs taking into consideration the structure and requirements of the Indonesian Qualification Framework (IQF). IQF recognizes values of skills acquired through work experiences and transfer of knowledge and qualifications obtained through both formal and non-formal education. Under this system students will be able to acquire relevant skills and qualifications they need to find employment appropriate to their level of competencies in accordance with the IQF structure.

Inappropriate learning approaches adopted in polytechnics

Quality of teaching and learning depends on many factors including knowledge and expertise of lecturers, dedication of the lecturers, appropriate teaching techniques adopted by the lecturers, availability of teaching learning resources, sufficient time allocated for students to study, practice, and acquire the skills, etc. In order to improve the quality of teaching and learning in most circumstances attention is given to helping the lecturers improve their knowledge and teaching skills. Little efforts have been given to the fact that students have different learning styles, different needs, and different backgrounds –socially, culturally, and academically. In most polytechnics a standard approach is adopted for almost all subjects and students have to go through the same lessons, exercises, projects, etc. Due to their different backgrounds and learning styles students face challenges to go through the same process and achieve the same level of competencies in each subject/discipline. It is important for polytechnics and especially for the lecturers to help the students adjust by adopting appropriate learning approach versus teaching approach that will enable them to be successful in their studies. In this regard, POLMAN can serve as a model for the selected polytechnics based on their excellent achievements which are widely recognized in the country. Under PEDP the selected polytechnics will have opportunities to learn from the expertise and experiences of POLMAN as its faculty will serve as resource persons for the selected polytechnics.

Limited cooperation between polytechnics and private industries

The project design recognizes this weakness and introduces several measures to foster partnerships between polytechnics and employers in such areas as curriculum development to impart the skills needed in the workplace, creating flexible mechanisms with active industry participation to regularly adapt training programs to new business circumstances, and preparing flexible graduates who are able to adjust quickly to changing demands in the labor market. In addition, study programs will be aligned with industry standards to enable industry to judge if graduates possess the skills that meet standards of practice and the quality requirements of industry, the consultants with the cooperation and support of resource persons and institutions will assist the polytechnics to strengthen their partnerships with industries as envisaged in the project design.

Lack of a comprehensive human resource system and appropriate policy to address personnel issues in polytechnics.

Lecturers and staff of polytechnics are the most important resources that have direct impact on the quality of education and quality of polytechnic graduates. If the lecturers and staff are neither qualified nor committed to their work, the quality of education is affected. Their knowledge and competencies need to be upgraded continuously through various staff development programs including internships and work experiences in industries. This is in addition to standard training programs normally provided by polytechnics and higher education institutions. These human resources must be viewed as assets of the polytechnics or as human capital and not treated merely as employees. It is important that human resource system and policy for polytechnics should be designed to equip their personnel with appropriate knowledge, skills, and competencies to enable them to provide the best education for their students. In addition, human resource policy must aim at empowering polytechnic personnel to take initiatives to introduce new ideas, to innovate, and to create more values in their work. A good human resource system must provide for vertical and horizontal development of the staff with the objective of retaining them as long term assets of the polytechnics. Meanwhile, it is important to develop a system, mechanisms, and instruments to set performance target (SKP – Sasaran Kinerja Pegawai) including appropriate assignment, work load, performance appraisal, and incentive systems to motivate and energize these personnel to perform their duties which exceed expectations and standard requirements. Under the project a human resource system and policy will be developed and implemented at the polytechnics taking into account all these principles that will motivate and enable personnel of the polytechnics to achieve the highest level of performance and feel very satisfied in their job at the same time.

Strategy and Approach.

The following strategy and approach to ensure achievements of the project objectives and targets in line with the expected outputs and outcomes of key components:

  • Building capacity of managers and lecturers to assume leadership role and functions for developing a model polytechnic and model COT at their polytechnic.

This approach is consistent with the objective of the project and performance indicators; namely, (i) increasing managerial excellence and (ii) increasing technical excellence. Capacity building programs will include three national workshops and a series of training and coaching programs to be developed and delivered at each polytechnic based on the findings of an assessment of their capacity, strengths and weaknesses and the needs of management and lecturers in accordance with the local situation.

  • Empower the Development Team and other key persons at the selected polytechnics to build strong commitments and ownerships of the project.

The project document states that PMU will guide selected polytechnic directors to establish a Development Team consisting of Director, Vice Directors, and three selected senior lecturers who will act as the “champions” for each polytechnic. In addition, the Polytechnic Director will prepare a commitment letter to assign the polytechnic Development Team to enhance the polytechnic in achieving and maintaining academic excellence. This strategy will help strengthen commitments and ownership of the project among these key stakeholders.

  • Introducing a “reaching out policyat the polytechnics.

The reaching out policy will play an important role to involve stakeholders especially private industries in improving curriculum, teaching learning system, and assessment of skills in order to prepare polytechnics graduates for jobs in the private sector. The project design already emphasizes the importance of establishing sustainable linkages with industries through a series of capacity building programs to enhance managerial skills and technical capacity as well as tactical approaches to strengthen partnerships between the polytechnics and the industry.

  • Expanding services, benefits, and impact through a learning network.

The project design envisions that a learning network will be established among the six selected polytechnics in order to serve as a depository of knowledge, lessons learned, and all capacity building materials which could be accessed by other polytechnics in the project.

  • Delivering tangible and useable knowledge products to be adopted as manuals, references, and learning resources after project completion.

This is in line with the fourth KPI- “resource excellence”. Prepare the following documents which will be used as a tool to strengthen project effectiveness and to assess progress of the project according to agreed milestones: (i) monitoring and evaluation system and manual and (ii) a business plan for COT.

  • Providing experiential learning experiences for the managers and lecturers.

Normally, most training programs use lecture method to impart information and knowledge from the lecturer to the learners. The lecture method is quite common among lecturers and teachers of educational institutions. However, one weakness of the lecture method is that it focuses mainly on delivering knowledge by the lecturer and absorption of information by the learners. Recognizing this weakness our consultant experts will employ experiential leaning approach with a focus on active participation by the participants on meaningful tasks through the use learning by doing method (Student Centered Learning – SCL).

  • Logical and sequential steps in introducing changes based on results of systematic and comprehensive assessment and analysis of the existing conditions at each polytechnic.

A comprehensive assessment at each polytechnic to identify weaknesses and build on strengths to improve its operations and develop a model COT. The interventions to be introduced at the selected polytechnics will be based on the results of the assessment to be carried out during the analysis and development phase by the consultant experts. The results will be analysed to determine areas that need to be strengthened and priorities set in collaboration with the Development Team.

Centre of Technology (COT) of Polytechnic

  • Technology means an integration of engineering application to produce products / services. For example, car manufacturing technology is an integration of applications of Mechanical Engineering, Thermodynamic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Metallurgy Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, etc. to produce car. Thus, technology is the integration of multi engineering application to produce saleable product / service.
  • COT development strategies need to take social and gender issues fully into consideration from the very beginning. This means, not only to ensure a fair and transparent application access which should give equal opportunities for both men and women but also to consider equal perspectives on the policy, which will influence the scope and involvement of women in technology development and application. Therefore, assessments of the contributions, benefits, and impact of COT policies and measures have to take into account environmental, social and gender equality benefits such as clean air and health, biodiversity conservation, job creation for women and men, livelihoods and liveable cities for all.
  • Another important point is that the COT strategies require multi-level approaches, i.e. they are not only about policies of national governments but ought to involve regional and local governments as well. Very often at the regional level, gender mainstreaming is not a major concern. Hence, the gender mainstreaming approach in the national policy is not applied at the regional level, while the implementation of the policy and strategy at the regional and institutional level depends to a great extent on the commitments of the leaders at each respective level.




1 Response to “Polytechnic Centre of Technology in Indonesia”

  1. 1 Gina May 22, 2017 at 7:48 am

    You’re a real deep thnkier. Thanks for sharing.

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