Education and Youth Unemployment in Indonesia

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Like elsewhere, education and youth unemployment in Indonesia are inextricably linked. Guest blogger Geby Devtiana Maryono explains how.

In 2013, there were 23.941 large-scale industry companies in Indonesia. However, the number of companies is Indonesia is not enough to accommodate and reduce the unemployment rate. Thus, the already high number of young unemployed and jobless graduates in Indonesia is increasing.

Based on the facts on the ground, the high unemployment rate in Indonesia is caused by a lack of access to education, lack of opportunities to develop, inability to compete and lack of skills. Based on data from UNESCO, there are 113 billion children and youth worldwide who drop out of school each year, and 97% of that number are in developing countries (UNESCO, 2000b: 8).

Data from the UN shows that 40% of the unemployed in the world are young people. In Indonesia, the International Labor Organization (ILO) states that 50% of the unemployed are new graduates.

The high number of children and youth who quit school directly contributes to the high number of youth unemployed in Indonesia. The importance of education is not only to help people become complete human beings, but also to prepare them with the knowledge and skills to thrive.

To decrease the number of unemployed youth, schools must get involved. One of the roles of education is to prepare students for the real working world. Schools have active role in the formation of their students, both in terms of academic and non-academic training. In reality, most schools are only focused on academics. Ideally, curricula should be tailored for students’ needs, as both academic achievement and soft skills are key.

The University of Tennessee (2006) stated that curricula in the 21st century needs to achieve several goals. These goals related to work readiness, providing opportunities for students to learn new skills, take responsibility for learning on the job and apply skills in variety contexts. To achieve these goals there should be a balance between the material taught and the skills needed in the workplace.

Collaboration between schools and companies is necessary to design curricula that will prepare students for the world of work and fulfill their educational requirements. The material and learning process also play an important role (Mourshed, et al, 2012). The school needs to be responsible for the quality of education, starting with the teacher and materials to the facility as a whole.

The way material is delivered practically and pedagogically is important, too. There should be an appropriate balance between theory and practice. It is not enough to give theories without practice and without analysis of theories in a real context. This balance can help youth develop both knowledge and skills.


International Labour Organization (ILO). 2013. Global Employment Trends 2013.

Recovering from a second jobs dip (Geneva). Mourshed, M., Farrell, D., & Barton, D. (2012). Education to employment : designing a system that works.

McKinsey&Company. Tennessee, T. U. (2006). Preparing for work an EFF work readiness curriculum. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Publisher. UNESCO. (2012).

Youth and skills : put education to work. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Article submitted by Geby Devtiana Maryono. Geby graduated with a degree in Education, which has given her a unique insight into Indonesian education and a strong motivation to improve education there. You can check our her blog here.


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The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Peace Child International.

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