Jokowi wants to improve the quality of Indonesia’s labour force

VICTORIA OPAI, a teacher in a remote part of West Kalimantan, Indonesia’s slice of Borneo, is charmed by the new road connecting her school to Putussibau, the nearest town. It is smooth, reasonably straight and cuts through swathes of jungle. It used to take three hours to get into town, she says. Now it takes 40 minutes.

Over the past five years new roads, airports and railways have popped up across Indonesia. Reviving its ailing infrastructure was a pledge of Joko Widodo, the president, known as Jokowi, during his first term. Along with poverty-reduction measures, it helped him win re-election on April 17th. In his first term Indonesia grew by 5.1% annually; last year the IMF said ambitious economic reforms could enable Indonesia to grow at 6.5% by 2022. Jokowi promises to improve “human resources”, meaning education and the quality of the labour force. In a speech on April 30th he talked about “upskilling” Indonesia.

In 2003 the constitution was amended to require the government to spend 20% of its budget on education. Previously it had spent about half that. And the share of 13- to 18-year-olds enrolled in school has risen over the past two decades, to 88%. But outcomes are poor. Over half of those who finish school are functionally illiterate. Between 2003 and 2015 Indonesia’s scores in the PISA tests run by the...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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