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Vocational Education, An Effective Method To Fight Poverty In Rural Areas

Poverty has become a contemporary phenomenon in the life of the world community. Undeniably, poverty remains an inhibitor of progress, especially in the field of economy and social welfare. This has encouraged the global society to make poverty an important item on the agenda.

In Indonesia, the poverty rate has decreased significantly and constantly over the last few years. However, the decline currently happening now does not necessarily make Indonesia a country free from poverty.

The important role of education in poverty reduction is the main theme raised at the Anniversary of the Faculty of Economics, Parahyangan Catholic University (FE Unpar) on January 27. With the theme “Central Role of Education in Alleviating Poverty in Rural and Maintaining National Food Security”, FE Unpar reminded the importance of education as a major force in preventing, and even reducing poverty. To that end, the best and most affordable education should accessible to all citizens, especially the grassroots elements.

In the Orasio Dies/Anniversary Speech, Hilda Leilani Masniaritta Pohan, Ph.D highlighted the importance of education in the process of poverty alleviation. The use of industrialization as one of the solutions for the alleviation of poverty, particularly in Indonesia, is not always the best solution. According to him, education, especially special education such as vocational schools (SMK) is an effective long-term solution to solve the problems of poverty.

Best Long-Term Policy

One of the main problems in the alleviation of poverty of the people is the existence of the circle of poverty, which is often called the vicious circle of poverty.

The inability to save and invest has made capital investment inhibited, causing a decrease in productivity. With the decrease of productivity, comes a decline in the level of income. Inevitably, this leads to the condition of poverty getting worse.

The main key to poverty reduction is to cut off the cycle of poverty. There are various techniques and policies that can be taken to reduce poverty, with regard to the existing components within the cycle of poverty. One of them is through an increase in productivity. Through increased productivity, the income level will rise, and the poverty rate decline.

All over the world, government policies have been aimed at boosting the productivity of society. Policies popular today consist of the industrialization program. The increase in production generated by the program requires increasing the number of workers, thus reducing the number of unemployed. In addition, the income levels will increase, along with the enhancement of their status to become industrial workers. The continuity between these two policies reduced unemployment and rising incomes, is expected to alleviate poverty.

New problems arising with clearings of new investment opportunities, particularly in rural areas, they do not necessarily bring about significant changes in the number of poor people. With industrialization, the rural population does not necessarily have the opportunity and the qualifications to be laborers. In addition, unregulated industrialization will also threaten the livelihoods of rural communities, which are largely dependent on the field of agriculture. At this point, the industrialization policy is no longer effective in alleviating poverty, and tends to be counter-productive for the people of the rural areas.

As a matter of fact this is where education plays an important role. Education itself can be divided into two categories: general education and special education, or what is known as vocational education. Among these two forms of education, vocational education has a unique place of its own. The education that bases its curriculum on certain specifications and specific needs are able to produce graduates who have certain skills, primarily those directly applicable directly in practice.

By adjusting to the needs of a region, vocational schools are able to produce graduates in accordance with the conditions and needs of the regional economy. Thus, the graduates produced can contribute directly and quickly to regional economic development, one through increased production and help optimize the process of industrialization.


Source: KOMPAS – Griya Ilmu (Tuesday, February 7, 2017)