In an effort to lift teaching standards in state universities, the Ministry of National Education said on Monday that it was developing a new program that would encourage the best graduates to stay on campus to become future lecturers.
Muchlas Samani, the director for the development of education personnel with the ministry, said the program aimed to overcome the shortage of quality lecturers.
“We have named the program Future Lecturer, and it is based on being able to offer attractive contracts to our best graduates,” he said.
While the structure of the contract is still being discussed by the ministry, Muchlas said that salary, career opportunity and advanced learning would form its basis.
“We hope to offer graduates the chance to get a doctoral degree and assure them of a promising career with good opportunities for promotion,” he said.
The country’s universities are failing to attract their leading students to lecturing positions, Muchlas said, especially those involved in key majors such as information technology, medicine, engineering and accountancy.
“We want our lecturers to be selected from the best and brightest students, those who have the ability and passion to pass on their knowledge to others,” he said. “But at the moment, we are having difficulties filling top-level lecturing positions because the highest-ranked graduates are not interested in pursuing careers in universities.”
He said that this inability to attract the best was an issue facing “top class” universities, such as the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya.
The best graduates from these universities mostly preferred to work in the private sector, Muchlas said. “Our top graduates choose to work for private companies, especially in these times when IT and engineering companies are booming,” he said. “Graduates are not interested in staying on campus nowadays, which will negatively affect the quality of our future students.”
Priyo Suprobo, the rector of ITS, said his university was aware of the problem. “From the top 10 students in each major, at most only two will stay on to become lecturers with us. Many of them chose to work for private companies for two main reasons: they want a good salary and they lack the ability to teach,” he said.
Priyo said teaching was not an easy job, and that universities must screen applicants to make sure they were suitable for the job. “We want the best graduates, but not only those who are smart — the ability to teach and to carry out quality research are also vital,” he said.