Over the span of five to ten years the Plan should be able to upgrade the educational level of the majority of the country’s workforce so that it will positively assist in the economic recovery and development of the country through higher productivity and increased capability to be involved in pre- and mid-technological pursuits in a big scale.
One is kept reminded of the opposing policies made by Japan and India in their textile industries following the end of the Second World War. While India, plagued by over-population and its perceived needs to employ its population, decided to maintain its textile industry practices, which are mainly labour intensive, Japan decided to embark on a technologizing journey and thus faced the challenges of significant unemployment in the country. But fifty years on, what do we see? Not only the technology introduced to the Japanese textile industry worked, but it also gained immense technology transfer and put the country as the second economic power in the world. India, on the other hand, with its highly intellectual citizens now recognized all over the world, is many years behind Japan and is still shackled in the category of developing world.
The lesson here is simply that Short-Term Plans must be based on Long-Term Strategy even though such a strategy may not have been developed at the time the Short-Term Plan was conceived.
Thus the Short-Term Educational Plan (STEP) must also refer to the overall country’s Strategy. Regrettably, many developing countries, including Indonesia for example, do not have such a long-term plan or blueprint, which in turn makes it almost impossible to do a STEP. It is nevertheless not an excuse to do nothing.
In Indonesia for example, the 70% workforce with only primary school education simply need to be upgraded and STEP should facilitate this. Indonesia should also look at its workforce as a global workforce and not just for domestic consumption. More than a million Indonesian worked in Malaysia, mostly as construction labourers and domestic
N IDRUS TRANSFORMING QUALITY FOR DEVELOPMENT KEYNOTE PAPER 7QHES, 29-31 OCTOBER 2002, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA