To increase the future pool of tech talent in Indonesia it is necessary to increase the number of students enrolled in technology-related programs. Non-formal education in the form of programs such as the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) have attempted to meet the labor demands in the short term. However, potential students may be disincentivized to enroll in such competency courses due to the high costs involved (e.g. hardware, software, and other materials that students are required to own) and fears about job security in the technology sector. These concerns are particularly discouraging for potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds or underrepresented groups, who tend to face additional hurdles when pursuing tech-related careers due to lack of information and support.
The DTS program outlined in the Minister of Communications and Informatics Regulation No. 2 of 2021 on the Strategic Plan 2020-2024 offers financial assistance for prospective students that contributes towards the cost of their fees. However, funds to assist potential students with other costs associated with the course are currently not available, which may deter some people from applying. Furthermore, although DTS alumni will have the opportunity to intern and receive job recommendations through a digital platform set up by the Ministry of Communications and Informatics, the program currently does not guarantee graduates with pathways to secure employment post program completion1.
To incentivize potential students to enroll in technical programs, there are a couple of non-monetary incentives that can be implemented, such as financial assistance and access to information that can help students make better decisions for their career. After calculating the costs associated with enrolling in a technology competency program and determining their eligibility to receive grants, the government could provide students with non-repayable grants to purchase the necessary hardware, software and other materials required in the study programs, or partner with relevant hardware and software companies for the same purpose. To ease fears and uncertainties in regards to a career in the technology sector, the parties involved (i.e. government, private corporations and educational institutions) must educate students on skills taxonomy and future outlook in the technology sector through workshops and seminars alongside technical training. Lastly, easing the steps to job placement through guaranteed job placement in partnership with industry both helps companies to locate the best talents for their business, and gives students the assurance that they will receive assistance in finding a job.
For many entrepreneurs, the decision to turn into innovations depends on the ease to adopt technology, trained workforces, and multiple sources of finance. Yet, navigating the complex regulation is a major challenge for most lay business people. To expedite the economic recovery post-pandemic recession, the stakeholders in the ecosystem are urged to formulate the right policy to simplify such challenges.