Beberapa hari ini saya mencoba mencerna artikel pendek yang ditulis Jim Clifton berjudul Universities: Disruption is Coming. Saya membaca itu karena dipincu oleh film pendek berjudul Change-2 oleh Gerd Leonhard. Film itu pertama kali saya lihat dari paparan Pak Nuh, yang kemudian saya cari di internet. Saya lebih bersemangat merenungi makna artikel Clifton dan film Leonhard, ketika membaca tulisan Sudaryono di Kompas 29 Agustus 2017 yang dikirim oleh Pak Rusijono lewat WAG Senat Unesa.
Dengan ilustrasi bahwa Google dan Ernst & Young merekrut karyawan tanpa memperhatikan ijasah (universitas) dan diyakini akan diikuti oleh perusahaan lain, Jim Clifton menyatakan sedang terjadi guncangan (disruption) terhadap universitas yang selama ini dianggap atau menganggap diri sebagai lembaga yang mapan. Sementara itu film Change-2 meyakinkan pemirsa bahwa teknologi digital telah merambah ke segala aspek kehidupan. Ketika segala sesuatu telah connected, semua telah equal, dan semua kinerja telah perfect, maka tinggal satu peluang untuk modal inovasi yaitu manusia. Pada saatnya semua hal yang sudah disistematisasi akan dikerjakan oleh mesin, sehingga tugas manusia adalah bagian yang tidak dapat disismatisasi yaitu kreativitas, imajinasi, inovasi dan sejenis dengan itu. Dan itu yang selama ini kurang mendapat perhatian di dunia pendidikan, termasuk universitas.
Sebenarnya apa yang diungkapkan oleh Clifton bukan sesuatu yang baru. Walaupun tidak melalui penelitian yang serius, saya sudah menengarai itu sejak 5 tahun lalu dan saya sampaikan dalam berbagai forum. Biasanya saya menggunakan contoh fenomena iklan di koran pada hari Sabtu. Biasanya banyak iklan dari perusahaan yang mencari karyawan baru. Sementara ketika ada job fair, ribuan pemuda yang umumnya lulusan unversitas antre mencari kerja. Sepertinya ada yang tidak klop. Perusahaan sulit mendapatkan karyawan baru yang diinginkan, sementara lulusan universitas kesulitan mencari pekerjaan. Tony Wagner dalam bukunya The Global Achievement Gap juga menunjukkan fenomena yang sama di Amerika Serikat. Jadi “ketidak-klopan” antara yang dihasilkan oleh universitas dan apa yang diperlukan dunia kerja, tidak hanya terjadi di Indonesia tetapi juga di Amerika Serikat. Saya pernah memaparkan fenomena itu pada ASAIHL Intenational Conference di Singapore tanggal 3-4 Desember 2014 (saya cantumkan di bawah).
Jika ditelusur lebih jauh, sebenarnya gejala seperti itu sudah cukup lama terjadi. Perusahaan yang bergerak di bidang komputer lebih percaya sertifikat Cisco dibanding ijasah S1 Teknik Informatika. Perusahaan konstruktsi lebih percaya sertifikat welding dibanding ijasah diploma Teknik Pengelasan. Bahkan sertifikat TOEFL seringkali lebih dipercaya dibanding ijasah S1 atau diploma prodi bahasa Inggris. Untuk melanjutkan ke S3 bidang Teknik di Amerika Serikat dipersyaratkan sertifikat GMAT dg sekor tertentu. Sepertinya pihak industri lebih cocok dengan standar yang digunakan oleh lembaga sertifikasi dibanding yang digunakan oleh universitas. Jika pada saatnya ada sertifikat itu merambah ke bidang lain, bukan mustahil ijasah kita turun atau bahkan hilang nilainya.
Ketidakpercayaan Google terhadap ijasah universitas itulah yang mungkin mendorongnya membiayai the Economist Intelligence Unit (bagian dari Majalah the Enonomist) untuk melakukan kajian tentang kompetensi apa yang diperlukan oleh dunia kerja. Hasil studi itu diterbitkan dengan judul Driving Skills Agenda: Preparing Students fof the Future. Laporan itu menyatakan lima kompetensi terpenting di masa depan adalah: problem solving, team working, communication, critical thiking dan creativity. Bukankah ini sangat mirip denan apa yang disebutkan dalam film pendek Change-2?
Mengapa terjadi “persimpangan” seperti itu? Seperti dalam film Change-2 disebutkan pola kerja di industri mengarah pada digitalization, mobilization, augmetation, disintermediation dan automation. Oleh karena itu dunia industri memerlukan karyawan yang punya kemampuan yang jauh berbeda dengan masa lalu. Sementara itu, sekolah dan universitas tetap asyik dengan pendidikan lama yang lebih menekankan kemampuan berpikir linier. Kemampuan teknis seperti itu tetap perlu, tetapi tidak lagi cukup di era digital.
Ketika buku sederhana saya dengan judul “Semua Dihandle Google, Tugas Sekolah Apa?” terbit pada Desember lalu, saya mendapat pertanyaan yany sulit dijawab. Apakah memang ke depan, sekolah dan universitas tidak diperlukan lagi, karena semua sudah digitalized dan ditangani oleh Google? Sulit menjawabnya. Namun, seperti ungkapan Jim Clifton, sebagai penghasil tenaga kerja terdidik, universitas sudah mulai tidak dipercayai dan bahkan ditinggalkan pelanggannya yaitu dunia industri. Seperti dimuat di fil Change-2, tetap ada yang tidak dapat ditangani oleh mesin (robot), yaitu yang terkait dengan imajinasi, kreativitas, inovasi dan sejenisnya. Jadi sekolah/universitas tetap perlu, namun harus dilakukan perubahan fundamental. Arah sekolah/universitas tidak boleh hanya mengembangkan kemampuan berpikir linier, yang sangat mungkin pada saatnya diambil oleh mesin. Yang justru lebih penting adalah kemampuan kreatif yang tidak liner. Sudah saatnya universitas bangun dari mimpi indah menikmati kemapanan semu.
RETHINKING EDUCATION FOR 21ST CENTURY:
An Indonesian Case
Paper presented on ASAIHL International Conference in Singapore, December 3-4, 2014
There are two paradox in Indonesian education recently, firstly is the paradox of job offer and vacancy. Thousands of high school/diploma 3 and university graduates struggle to seek for jobs during market job fair, on the other hands, Saturday’s papers keep on advertising a lot of job vacancies from many companies. There are many educated young people who find difficulty in finding jobs; on the contrary there are many companies which find difficulty in finding qualified employees.
The second paradox is the fact that many successful people in their career turn out not to be the students who always got high grades at their former education. And there are many people who had high scores at their former education are not the successful people in the career later. It seems there is no significant relation between what they learn at schools and their success in their careers.
Series of observations and interviews found out that to be successful, someone should have hard skills, like being intelligent and creative, and mastering his/her field. Also soft skills, like being hard worker, information seeker, risk taker, problem solver, always learning new things, having lots of friends and partners in collaboration, and having a concern for others.
The above paradox may illustrate that Indonesian education so far is not comprehensive as it emphasizes on hard skills and neglects the soft skills. It is high time to rethink the Indonesian education.
Keywords: education, paradox, hard skills, soft skills.
When there was a job fair in Surabaya, thousands of job seekers come hoping to get a job there (www.jppn.com. Accessed 14 August 2013). Similar situation happened every time there was a job fair in other big cities in Indonesia. This is an indicator that many Indonesian youth are looking for work in Indonesia. This is also supported by the results of tracer studies conducted by several universities (Samani, 2011). Inequality number of job seekers compared with job vacancies offered at job fairs showed how difficult young people get a job.
Interviews with job seekers illustrated how difficult it was to find a job, even though they were graduates of leading colleges (Samani, 2012). The data also showed that those who found difficulty to find jobs were not only college graduates, but also vocational graduates, although the school is designed to make the graduates ready to enter the work (Saifuddin, 2014). Tracers study on vocational schools showed a mismatch between the work and the majors’ background (Samani, 2011). It showed the difficulty of vocational graduates to get jobs.
With the large numbers of applicants, does it mean industries would be very easy to get employees in accordance with the standards? Are not there so many applicants, so they just choose the best among them? Apparently this is not the case. Every Saturday, Indonesian newspapers contain lots of advertisements from companies seeking new employees. The number of these ads shows that it is not easy for the industries to look for employees who have the desired qualifications. PT PAMA’s (a leading company in Indonesia) experience showed, if there were 100 applicants, those who passed the psychology selection were a maximum of only 25 people, and then those who passed in interview test were only a maximum of 5 people. The figures were the most optimistic at the level of mechanical and operators. The higher the job level the more difficult it gets (Subekti, 2014).
Competence Discrepancy between the Schools of the World of Work
Why does it happen? Apparently there is a discrepancy competencies learned in school and university with the world of work desired competencies. Need assessment done with the industries found that the desired world of work competencies are: (1) master his/her expertise, (2) capable of reasoning well, (3) has a good working attitude, among other things: honest, disciplined, hard working and responsible, (4) problem solver, (5) able to communicate well, (6) and able to collaborate with others (Samani, 2010).
Mastering his/her expertise and ability to reason properly referred to as the hard skills, while others called soft skills. Industries consider soft skills are very important. Vocational skills can be quickly trained, but forming a working attitude is difficult (Kamilan, 2014). This phenomenon is in line with the reports of Chapman & Hammond (2013) that the industries require employees who have good soft skills; so that they are immediately ready to work. That is why most of the ads look for employees who have work experience. Those who already have work experience are expected to have sufficient soft skills, so industries do not need to train them more (Samani, 2012).
Are only employees who require soft skills? It is apparently not so. A series of depth interviews with school principals, teachers, graduate students, corporate managers, was conducted to collect information about: (1) whether their friends while studying at the previous school/college who always got high marks and was praised by the teacher/lecturer, are now the most successful compared to other friends, (2) their friends who are now (as an adult and work) the most successful in the work: how their scores when they were at school/college and what kind of activities they had at school and outside school/college. (3) That they are successful now, what seems to be the key to their success.
It turns out that those who always got top marks when they were at school/college are not always the most successful people when they are adults and work. Those who are now the most successful in work and society, most of them got ordinary marks when they were at schools/college, but they were active in social activities both within the school/college and in the community.Even many of them worked while they were students of the school/college (Samani, 2012).
Why they are very successful in their career and daily life? It is found that the key to their success is much more influenced by the provision of soft skills, such as hard worker, problem solver, creative, resilient, capable to communicate and collaborate well, and risk taker (Samani, 2012). These factors were also confirmed by FGD results carried out by PhD students at State University of Surabaya.
The importance of soft skills appears to increase in the 21st century. Dalin and Rust (1996), Rich (2001), Wagner (2008), Trilling and Fadel (2009) are some of the expert, with different terms, who remind the importance of soft skills for the 21st century. Even Wagner (2008) questions "why even our best schools do not teach the new survival skills our children need ". Handy (1997) criticizes “I believe we need a totally new kind of schooling which not about learning knowledge and fact, but to help the student to know what to do with all this knowledge and how to do it”. In the era of technology, work method changes very quickly. What workers need is capability and curiosity to learn new technology related to his/her jobs. High order thinking is needed to response new work method with advance technology. Problem solving is everyday task faced by most workers now. Most of task in industries are carried out in the form of collaboration, so capability in communication and collaboration are very important.
What we need to handle that kind of work situation? Dallin and Rust offer what they call life skills, Wagner offer what he call the survival skills, Trilling and Fadel offer what they call 21st century skills and Rich offer what she call mega skills. The skills offered by those expert are very similar and most of them can be categorized as soft skills. They show a huge evidence and arguments why the skills offered are very important in the era of technology.
We get two paradox, here. First, between the difficulty of job seekers to find job and the difficulty of industries to find good new employees. Second, the people who got good mark in school/college but do not success in their career, while the successful people got ordinary marks during in schools/college. It seems that from their school/college, the graduates do not get the key competencies needed to get a good job and to be successful.
Where those successful people managed to develop the soft skills? Depth interviews with some successful people concluded that they acquired the soft skills from their experience in the organization's activities and from working while going to school/college. The obligation to manage their time made them develop self-management and always looked for opportunities. Interaction with colleagues with different backgrounds made them developed the ability to communicate and cooperate. Their enjoyment to handle task in his/her organization and the requirement to do school/college task, made them get used to working hard and never giving up. Participation in the organization was also an excellent vehicle to build networks and take risks (Samani, 2014).
Formal education praxis in Indonesia has not put soft skills as an important part of education. Theoretically soft skills has been known long before. One of the fathers of Indonesian Education, Ki HajarDewantara (2004) has already mentioned the importance of the character or budi pekerti in education. Law on National Educational System also states clearly that the purpose of education is to develop students to become religious, healthy, scientific, creative, and independent human being, having good character and becoming good citizen. Curriculum in Indonesia also mentions the importance of three domains of education, namely cognitive, affective and psychomotor.
Unfortunately the character and the affective domain as the basic of soft skills are only relied on a nurturant effect and not a deliberate educational purpose. Therefore there is no part on the lesson plan how to achieve it. Also there is no specific measurement tools how to check the achievement either. It makes character and affective domain are neglected during teaching and learning process. So it can be understood that successful people acquire soft skills not from schools/lectures, but from work and participation in community organizations.
Indonesian government and educators have to consider the education praxis in schools and colleges. The phenomena described above shows that the education praxis in schools teaches the mismatch competencies from the real world needs. They focused only on hard skills and neglected soft skills needed by world of work. It makes the graduates get difficulty to get job and makes them to learn soft skills from another activities.
From industries’ point of view, this means high cost. Industries need a big budget to give a long job training or even retraining for the new employees. That is why industries prefer to get new employees who have work experience, so they don’t need such training. It also cuts down time needed in managing the new employees. From graduates’ point of view, they are at loss because most competencies they acquired at school are not those needed by world of work. From government’ point of view that is money wasting, because it funds a mismatch education. We have to rethink our education and soft skills should have greater attention.
I don’t say that we do not need hard skills to be successful, we do need it. People will get difficulty to get job when he/she does not have any hard skills. People will not get success when he/she does not have higher thinking skills. But we need soft skills as well. People will not success when he/she does not have good capability to communicate and collaborate with other people. He/she needs to work hard, to work creatively and to responsible to his/her task.
Education has to pay attention to both skills and put them into teaching learning objectives. Teacher has to elaborate the two sides of teaching learning objectives in his/her lesson plan and measure them in his/her students achievements. School principal has to develop school culture that boost students’ soft skill development. Student achievement report must contain soft skills as well as hard skills, so that the teacher pay an equal attention to both aspects.
Do we need new subjects for soft skills domain? I don’t think so. Soft skills competencies should be deliberately developed and measured the results in the process of education. But it is not necessarily in the form of soft skills subjects. Soft skills and hard skills are both necessary and should be united as life skills developed and integrated in the learning process (Samani, 2010). Hard skills can be learned as the content and soft skills are developed within the content.
As an example, in history class, students can learn how to work hard, collaborate with their friends and solving problems through learning history. The history teacher should insert the spirit of work hard and collaboration in his lesson plan, develop and practice them in the history class. Both the history and these skills are integrated and measured. Another example is during an extracurricular activities, soft skills might be developed, but it should be planned and measured well
Chapman, Felicity Roger and Linda Darling-Hammond. 2013. Preparing 21st Century Citizen: The Role of Work Based Learning in Linked Learning. Stanford: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.
Dalin, Per & Val D. Rust. 1996. Towards Schooling for the Twenty-First Century. London: Cassel.
Dewantara, Ki Hajar. 2004. “Hal Pendidikan: Prasaran dalam Konggres Taman Sisw Pertama, tahun 1930” in Karya Ki HajarDewantara. Yogyakarta: Majelis Luhur Taman Siswa.
Handy, Charles. 1997. “Finding Sense in Uncertainty” in Rethinking the Future. Editor Rowan Gibson. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Kamilan. 2014. Kelemahan Lulusan SMK: Pengalaman Rekrutme Karyawan di Bontang. FGD Material on Bontang Techo Park. Surabaya: 11 September 2014.
Rich, Dorothy. 2001. “The Mega-Skills of Parent Involment” in National of School Psychologist. December 2001.
Saifudin, Rahmat. 2014. Keterampilan Lulusan SMK Bidang Keahlian TKR yang Bekerja di Bengkel Sepeda Motor. Thesis Graduate Program Univesitas Negeri Surabaya.
----------2010. Menggagas Pendidikan Bermakna. Cetakan ke-2. Surabaya: Penerbit SIC.
----------2011. “Merenungkan Kembali Arah Pendidikan” in Rekonstruksi Pendidikan: Kumpulan Pemikiran tentang Perlunya Merekonstruksi Pendidikan di Indonesia. Editors: Sirikit Syah dan Martadi. Surabaya: Unesa University Press.
---------- 2012. Profesionalisasi Pendidikan. Surabaya: Unesa University Press.
---------- 2014. Mohon Maaf Masih Compang-Camping. Surabaya: Unesa University Press.
Subekti, Agung. 2014. Pengalaman Rekrutmen Karyawan Baru di PT PAMA. FGD Materials on Bontang Techo Park. Surabaya: 11 September 2014.
Trilling, Bernie & Charles Fadel. 2009. 21st Century Skills: Leaning for Life in Our Times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wagner, Tony. 2008. The Global Achiement Gap: Why Even Our Best School Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need and What We Can Do About it. New York: Basic Books Group.