The Kartu Prakerja Program Attracts Global Recognition, Partners with UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)

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The Kartu Prakerja Program Attracts Global Recognition, Partners with UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)

Acara Kartu Prakerja 19 April 2024 5 Menit Baca
The Kartu Prakerja Program Attracts Global Recognition, Partners with UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)

Since its establishment in 2020, the Kartu Prakerja program has revolutionized access to adult learning opportunities for 17 million Indonesians across the archipelago, overcoming traditional barriers of access and cost to reach underserved populations. Prakerja’s achievements are especially relevant right now as global governments seek to reinvent and equip their workforces for a fast-changing world.

In light of this feat, no less than the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has organized a joint event with Prakerja held in early of July 2023, in Bali, as it seeks to rally global stakeholders behind solutions for lifelong learning.

This event, titled “Inclusive Lifelong Learning Conference,” is an impressive achievement for the Kartu Prakerja program, placing Indonesia front and center in the global dialogue on adult education. 

The conference aims to develop an inclusive lifelong learning framework aligned with the Marrakech Framework for Action (MFA) recommendations, with the goal of generating a joint commitment to lifelong learning, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Empowerment, inclusivity & habit-building

Core to the Kartu Prakerja program is the principle of empowering participants to decide what and when to learn. By setting up the program in such a way that it offered multiple choices, participants could decide for themselves as to what choices were most appropriate for their interests and availability.

“They accommodate individuals from various backgrounds, making it an inclusive program,” said Zakki Gunawan, the National Program Officer for Education at UNESCO Jakarta, of the Kartu Prakerja program.

According to Denni Puspa Purbasari, Executive Director of the Kartu Prakerja Program Project Management Office, 64% of Kartu Prakerja participants came from rural areas. Despite the great disparity in participants’ backgrounds, from age to interests, the program design of Prakerja is able to accommodate them.

By designing the program to foster empowerment and inclusivity and by using incentives to drive habit-building, Kartu Prakerja was able to attract a wide range of participants and drive solid completion rates, for game changing innovation in the lifelong learning sector.

Critically, enrollment costs for participants were covered by the government state budget, and such participants were moreover eligible to receive cash bonuses from the government when they completed courses, which the government did to incentivize participants to enroll and simultaneously also to provide economic assistance during the pandemic.  By doing so, the Kartu Prakerja program management created visibility and encouraged people to try the program, which in turn led to an astonishing increase in take up rates. Between 2020-2023, Prakerja served 17 million beneficiaries across Indonesia, of which 86% or nearly 15 million individuals, had never attended any training.

As context, prior to Prakerja, only 10.3% of the Indonesian workforce had ever participated in any training according to the data from the Statistics Indonesia, and the number was increasing by only around 500,000 individuals each year thanks to ministerial trainings.

For example, the different government ministries had established a target of training 870,763 beneficiaries in total, with a total aggregate budget of IDR 3.58 trillion (equivalent to approximately USD 247.0 billion based on an exchange rate of IDR 14,500/USD), or approximately IDR 4,112,589 (USD 284) per person for these offline trainings.

Now, since Prakerja introduced online training, the proportion of individuals of productive age who have engaged in training doubled to 19.1%, across the entire nation, which is massive. 

Data BPS Kenaikan Angkatan Kerja yang Telah Mengikuti Pelatihan 2020-2023
Increase in Workforce Who Have Attended Course/ Training in 2020-2023 (Statistics Indonesia)

As such, Kartu Prakerja’s digitally enabled model offers hope that digital technology can help close the training gap between rural and urban populations, when deployed with the right mechanisms and incentives. 

A global case study

Given the challenges that Indonesia faces in reaching a large and geographically scattered population, the program serves as an excellent study case for other nations who need to upskill large segments of their populations. 

The Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, David Atchoarena, has previously referred to Prakerja as a “game changer” for its role in expanding learning opportunities to underserved segments. Especially noteworthy is the fact that this program has successfully reached not only urban, digital-savvy populations, but also managed to bring in rural participants.

This is critical in narrowing not only the learning gap but also the digital divide between different population segments, which is an issue facing governments all over the world. Thus, the Kartu Prakerja program offers valuable lessons for other countries in pursuing and formulating adult learning programs for a changing world.

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