The Tanoto Foundation’s Youth Scholarship family recently got larger, when students at three schools in North Sumatra’s capital city of Medan joined the expanding group of recipients. With the addition of SMA Hosana, SMA Gadjah Mada 2, and SMA Letjen Haryono MT, 19 schools are now actively participating in the Youth Scholarship program. The Tanoto Foundation, established more than 30 years ago by RGE Group CEO Sukanto Tanoto and his family, can now proudly point to nearly 500 young Indonesian men and women who have benefited from its efforts.
In keeping with the personal and business philosophy of the self-made and largely self-educated Sukanto Tanoto, each scholarship recipient is expected to commit wholeheartedly to achieving his or her own academic goals.
The Tanoto Foundation supports education in Indonesia at every level, from early childhood centers to primary schools to universities and adult courses in entrepreneurship. Mr. Tanoto believes that education is one of the key factors in assisting the nation’s people in rising out of poverty and making meaningful contributions to their society.
At the same time, Indonesia needs to focus not only on ensuring that more citizens attend school, but also on increasing access to high-quality technical education. In generations past, the widely shared assumption in the developing world was that the globalization of manufacturing and trade would bring with it a steady demand for unskilled labor. In recent years, however, rapidly developing nations such as Indonesia have experienced a sharp increase in the need for more skilled workers, as technological innovations continue to gain widespread adoption in business and industry.
Furthermore, economists anticipate that Indonesia will enjoy a “demographic bonus” in 2025-2035, during which time the number of individuals of working age will be greater than the number of retired adults or schoolchildren. The gains, however, will not last if the country does not focus on improving workforce quality as well as quantity.