A man registers for the pre-employment card program from a cellphone. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)

Corruption Watchdog Calls for More Transparency in Pre-Employment Program

BY :TARA MARCHELIN

JUNE 01, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia Corruption Watch, or ICW, says the government should disclose the partnership agreement made between the pre-employment card – the government's flagship unemployment benefits program – and its digital platform partners to make sure the latter are not taking undue advantage from the deal. 

The pre-employment card – which doubles as a government safety net for people who have lost jobs during the pandemic – provides a monthly stipend and vouchers to be spent on online training courses organized by the digital platforms.

According to the ICW, the regulation on the financial compensation for the digital platforms is still unclear.

"We've asked the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs to disclose the partnership agreement, but they haven't responded," ICW researcher Wana Alamsyah said on Monday.

A continued lack of transparency will make it easier for the digital platforms to take undue advantage of the program, Wana said.

The partnership is so far regulated under a Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs decree issued in 2020, which says only that digital platforms can claim reasonable compensation from training institutions with approval from the management of the pre-employment card.

Wana said so far there is no information available to the public about the partnership agreement on the pre-employment program's website.

"The ministerial decree does not specify the exact amount of the compensation," Wana said in an online discussion.

Wana said that according to the 2008 Public Information Disclosure Law, all state agencies are obliged to disclose to the public all information related to agreements they make with a third party.

ICW said the digital platform Mau Belajar Apa has revealed on its website that it received a 20 percent cut from the cost of the training it provides. 

"But we can't assume that everyone has been getting 20 percent from the program, or that the amount is reasonable. It's the government's responsibility to tell us what the compensation amounts to and to justify it," Wana said. 

Double Roles

The ICW has also discovered that some digital platforms have been playing a double role in the pre-employment program.

A recent study found out that at least 137 training courses for the program have been provided by the digital platforms themselves – who are supposed to act as a kind of middleman for the training institutions – or their subsidiaries.

Some of the digital platforms and subsidiaries who have been guilty of this practice include Skill Academy, Pijar Mahir, Sekolah.mu, Pintaria, Harukaedu, G2 Academy and Hacktiv8.

"Some of these digital platforms not only act as a facilitator for the training institutions but also function as a training institution themselves," ICW coordinator Siti Juliantari said.

According to the ICW, the role of the subsidiaries – sometimes euphemistically called collaborators – is not regulated in the aforementioned ministerial decree or in the 2020 presidential decree which have both become the legal basis for the pre-employment program.

Siti said taking on the double role as both a facilitator and a training institution can also cause a conflict of interest.

"The digital platform and the training institution should be playing different roles. According to the decrees, the digital platforms should act as curators, evaluators and supervisors for the training institutions," Siti said. 

"If the digital platform and the training institution are the same entity, supervision will be difficult. It would be hard to achieve any semblance of objectivity," she said.

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