In front of 3,000 teachers on Friday 5 July 2019, Jokowi announced that “technology… demands that the world of education adapt.”
Indonesia is aiming to find 3.7 million new skilled workers each year to reach its target of 113 million by 2030, and digital readiness requires that both these recruits and the existing workforce have not only relevant technical skills but also human skills, such as creativity, complex problem solving, and people management – an area currently neglected.
Indonesia’s start-up scene, meanwhile, is struggling to find skilled labour at home, and the growth of Indonesia’s digital economy – estimated to become the largest in Southeast Asia by 2022 – appears to be plateauing.
Go-Jek founder Nadiem Makarim argues that digital readiness is more than a simple question of investment in technology, but more so of investment in skills and Jokowi emphasised that soft skills, on top of technical skills, are absolutely critical in the era of Industry 4.0; soft skills such as communication, creativity and emotional intelligence.
As technology continues to advance, the way we live and work will also continue to change. The World Economic Forum points out that it’s crucial the workforce adapts to meet these changing needs: “Robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans.”
Efforts made by Indonesia to expand its skilled workforce include:
Australia is uniquely placed to collaborate with Indonesia on skills training, particularly via vocational education. Closing Indonesia’s skills gap, according to investment board chief Tom Lembong, will be solved by Chinese capital combined with Australian training. And as Dr Eugene Sebastian argues, “To succeed, Indonesia will need to partner with others… now that the IA-CEPA is signed, Australia’s training sector has an opportunity to build on a small base.”