The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian government and the younger generation in the country are being urged to prepare for the so-called demographic bonus, which is predicted will occur in 2025-2035, when the number of people within the productive age bracket is higher than the number of elderly people and children.
Deputy head of the family empowerment division at the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN), Sudibyo Alimoeso, said the percentage of Indonesians within the productive age group in 2025-2035 would be relatively high.
'They [the government and young people] have to start preparing now. Otherwise, we will lose the chance to enjoy the demographic bonus,' Sudibyo said recently in Semarang, Central Java.
The demographic bonus, according to Sudibyo, offered a significant opportunity for the country's economic development if young people's work skills and aptitude were developed as soon as possible.
'With the majority of the population at a productive age, the burden on the state to support people will be reduced,' he said.
At the same time, however, such a situation could also have a negative impact if the government did not ready itself for the change. A majority of productive-aged people, Sudibyo went on, would only increase the burden on the state if they were not provided with adequate job opportunities and skills development programs.
'If the entire productive population is unemployed, it would be a disaster for the country rather than an opportunity,' he said.
He also expressed his concerns that Indonesia was running out of time to prepare a sufficiently skilled workforce; especially given the fact that the country currently had too few skilled workers.
According to the BKKBN's data, there were 114 million workers in Indonesia in 2013, 86.5 percent of whom were unskilled; 9.7 percent were lightly skilled; 8 percent were trained, and only 3.8 percent were skilled. The data also revealed that 80 percent of the country's population had dropped out of high school.
Separately, the head of the Central Java office of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Ibram Syahboedin, said the province's total population by 2025 was projected to reach 36 million.
Meanwhile, Prijono Tjiptoherianto, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Demographic Experts and Supporters (IPADI), said population dynamics should be used to determine a five-year development plan. The President, according to Prijono, needed to gather demographic experts and advisers to help study and analyze the phenomenon, and prepare the necessary policies.
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