The Governor of Central Java, Indonesia, Ganjar Pranowo, established SMK Negeri Jawa Tengah (SMKN Jateng), a free school for underprivileged students with the concept of a boarding school.
Inaugurated on June 2, 2014, the school is currently located in three places, namely Semarang City, Purbalingga Regency, and Pati Regency.
The presence of SMKN Jateng aims to reduce poverty rates in Central Java through education.
All education expenses are borne by the Central Java Provincial Government’s regional revenues and expensitures budget (APBD) along with other stakeholders’ financial contribution. All student needs such as boarding, food, uniforms, work clothes, stationery, and other necessities are also provided by the Central Java Provincial Government.
The main campus of SMKN Jateng is located in Semarang City and covers an area of 3.5 hectares. The school currently accommodates 365 students, consisting of 281 male and 75 female students who are currently in grades one, two, and three.
According to the Head of SMKN Jawa Tengah in Semarang, Samiran, the school uses both the national curriculum and a character-based curriculum. The national curriculum is taught by teachers, while the character curriculum is taught by caregivers or mentors with relevant backgrounds.
Teaching and learning activities take place from Monday to Friday, while Saturday and Sunday are used for extracurricular activities.
There are five majors at SMKN Jateng in Semarang, namely Construction and Housing Engineering, Industrial Electronics Engineering, Electrical Power Installation Engineering, Machining Engineering, and Light Vehicle Engineering.
According to the Public Relations Officer of SMKN Jateng in Semarang, Heri Purnomo, in the last three years, the school has graduated 357 students. Of this number, 70 percent have been employed by the Indonesian Armed Forces, civil servants, or absorbed by various large companies in Indonesia, both state-owned and private. Meanwhile, 20 percent had the opportunity to continue their education at universities, and the rest either opened their businesses or were still looking for work.
The school always approaches and discusses with various companies in Indonesia to ensure its graduates are suitable for industry needs. This is done to ensure that SMKN Jateng graduates in Semarang are always compatible with the needs of the workforce.
Governor Ganjar Pranowo reasserts that he prioritizes access to education for children from underprivileged families in Central Java.
“By providing free schooling for these children, it can help reduce the poverty rate in the region, as educated individuals have a better chance of securing employment and improving their economic situation,” said Ganjar.
Furthermore, he conveys, the opening of semi-boarding schools in 15 areas in Jawa Tengah will not only provide education but also provide a place for students to stay during the school term, especially for those who live far away from the school or do not have a conducive learning environment at home.
“Education is essential in breaking the cycle of poverty, and initiatives like these can go a long way in providing opportunities for those who may not have had access to education otherwise. It is important for leaders to prioritize education and work towards providing equal opportunities for all children, regardless of their background or financial status,” concluded Ganjar.