Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education



Waras Kamdi
State University of Malang

Gaps of Education Service
For several years, public senior high and vocational schools programs have grown up in
different directions or paths. Even nowadays, the UU Sisdiknas no 20/2003 is still regulating these
separate education programs as academic education institution, and vocational education
institution. Teacher education for vocational education and academic education is also excuted in
different paths. These two different paths of education can fullfill people’s education needs. For
instance, people who want to immediately get jobs after graduation may select vocational
education, whereas for those who yearn for keeping on studying in universities are given a choice
through public/academic education. For that reason, each of regions should ideally cater for such
two sorts of education. Yet, the Indonesian geographical condition, which is widespread and
comprises ample of islands, seems to trigger gaps in education in several regions.
In every region/municipality, both vocational schools and senior high schools have been
established unevenly in terms of number. For example, some regions have senior high schools
only, while some other regions have vocational schools only. In order to resolve such a gap of
education service, there is a need of an alternative model of developing education service which
focuses on the potential of existing resources and atmosphere.
The development of an integrated school of either vocational schools or senior high schools
in the regions is a potential alternative so as to provide education service in terms of vocation and
academic integrated. This integration is called Sekolah Menengah Terpadu or SM Terpadu.

New Age Demands
Lately, in several countries, extremely segregated education, which is less important than a
gap of education service, has been criticized for several reasons. One of the reasons which comes
into view is that people become more aware of upcoming different types of jobs requiring new
skills and having distinct characteristics. Job vacancy requires not only specific skills but also
transfer skills and generic skills which will facilitate employees to attain supplementary education
and training for their careers. In this new era, it is apparent that our schools face life demands and a
more complex future life.
In this global age, everything is knowledge-based without of which anything will be left
behind. For example, in economics, technology, work, etc., they are all knowledge-based. In other
words, whatever a task or job is, it needs knowledge and thinking skills to accomplish. In
particular, we cannot rely not only on specific skills, but also generic skills (Waras Kamdi & Djoko
Saryono, 2003). The integration of academic and vocation in an institution can be seen as an
attempt or response to the knowledge-based world. Obviously, this integrated high school or
integrated SM/Sekolah Menengah Terpadu (SM Terpadu) model needs developing not only in the
regions where a gap in education takes place, but also in other regions, in addition to the exiting
education programs, as a new alternative of education.

Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


Perspectives of Social Changes
In social perspectives, an institution prevails due to three elements, namely formation,
structure, and construction. When an institution is a situation of instability or turmoil, buffeted by
flow of changes, and begins to wobble position, deformation, restructuration, and deconstruction
will appear as a process of being powerlessness. In this situation, attempts to reformation,
reformulation, restructuration, and reconstruction are needed in this social institution. As a social
institution, our schools are now in the state of deformation, de-restructuration, and deconstruction.
In the era of change, our schools have been recognized as the most conservative and resistant
institutions to change. As a result, the educational institutions are no longer able to be leaders of
changes, but are deceived by changes. Vocational schools have a problem on relevancy, so do
senior high schools. They cannot optimally fulfill the needs of high-based education (Waras Kamdi
& Djoko Saryono, 2003). Hence, it is time to need attempts of reformation, reformulation,
restructuration, and reconstruction of new schools.
An integrated SM is a response to the process of reformation, reformulation, restructuration,
and reconstruction of our schools. As the changes in many aspects of life at present and future, the
development of integrated SM should be directed not only to “extinguish fire” (nation’s problems
which are temporarily, sporadically and local), such as discrepancy in education service, or a lot of
dropouts, but also to respond to tendency of global change which demands students to have life
skills, specific skills, and generic skills such as transfer skills, thinking skills, problem solving
skills, and employability skills.

Knowledge Evolution Predisposition
Due to the fact that skills in new various jobs are required, there tends to be new
predisposition in more convergent knowledge evolution. Various types of jobs call for
multidisciplinary skills, and very few jobs need sole specific skills. Science and technology
predisposition advance in more convergent, in which various disciplines and fields of science
interact and integrate to yield new convergences of new science and technology. It means that
curriculum reconstruction and integrated teaching become an imperative requirement and
The idea of integration is also relevant with life skill education concepts. If life skill is
conceptualized as a unity, combination, and fusion of academic skills, vocational skills, and generic
skills, the curriculum and its teaching should be integrated. Therefore, integrated SM is a
realization of the school as the most actual and ideal life skill educational institution. In short,
integrated SM can be expressed as shown in the following words: “The ultimate goal of its
education is to produce smart and skillful employees /workers, its curriculum is life skill-based, its
teaching model is integrated and contextual, and its educational institution is integrated SM”.
Integrated SM is an ideal and realistic institution in responding to knowledge evolution

Theoretical Framework
If integrated SM is conceptualized as an integration of academic and vocational education to
develop students’ potentials, the modern theories such as constructivism, experience learning,
generative learning, and activity learning duly provide a strong foundation to it.
According to a lot of literatures, contructivism is a learning theory which emphasizes on the
idea that students construct their own knowledge in the context of their own experience (Murphy,
Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


1997; Brook & Brook, 1993, 1999; Driver & Leach, 1993; Fraser, 1995). Constructivism learning
focuses more on students’ active involvement in acquiring experience (doing) rather than passive
receivers of knowledge. Besides, this theory views that learning is not a set of stimuli-response as
believed by behaviorists, but a process that needs self regulation and building of concept structure
through reflection and abstraction (von Glaserfeld, as cited in Murphy, 1997). The real activity
performed in the vocational project provides learning experience to help reflect and verge on
relation between real world and underlying knowledge which is expected to be more advanced and
in-depth (Barron, Schwartz, Vye, Moore, Petrosino, Zech, Bransford, & The Cognition and
Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1998). This respect shows that integrated academic and
vocational teaching concentrating on real world activities, has potential to expand and deepen
conceptual and procedural knowledge (Gagne, 1985), or it is also known as knowing that and
knowing how (Wilson, 1995). Knowing ‘that’ and ‘how’ is not sufficient without the disposition to
‘do’ (Kerka, 1997). Expanding and deepening understanding of knowledge is observable by
gauging the improvement of the academic skills.
Integrated teaching is also an approach to creating realistic learning atmosphere and
problem-solving in the real world. According to William James, the best learning is through self
activities, sensory experience is basic of learning, and effective learning is holistic and
interdisciplinary (cited in Moore, 1999). Furthermore, John Dewey states that experience is the
core element in the classroom instruction (Moore, 1999; Knoll, 2002). Dewey views that learning
is as “process of making determinate the indeterminate experience”. The sense of various
experiences is a connection which mutually depends on what students bring in the learning
situation and what happens in the learning situation. Based on their schemata, people build new
knowledge in new experience (Billet, 1996). The curricular tasks in the form of project integrating
aspects of academic and vocational skills can be viewed as a process of learning to consolidate
experience, widen knowledge, and refine knowledge. It is in line with what Marzano (1992) states
that learning through experiencing real life (for example, investigation and solving real life
problems) can widen and refine knowledge. Thus, as an attempt to reformation, restructuration, and
reconstruction, the presence of alternative or new schools have a clear position, that is to provide
various education services to society.
Integrated SM is apparently a new institution. Its paradigm and perspective can obviously
widen conception, function, and role of education from reproducing science to be a life skill
education institution. Its purposes are to increase the meaningfulness and usefulness of education
for people, work, and daily life and to respond and anticipate demands, challenges, and needs of
people, work, and future life. Therefore, the development of integrated SM should utterly be
realized. It needs commitment and devotion from all stakeholders such as teachers, educational
staff, bureaucrat, and educators to think of and cooperate precisely and appropriately.

Concepts Of Integration And Integrated Sm
The core concept of “integration” is integrating curriculum and learning activities of
academic and vocational education into one program. This integration concept can be organized
from the simplest to the most perfect integration, from plug-in to full integration as illustrated in
Figure 1.

Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


Figure 1. Concept of “integration” in Integrated SM

Figure 2a. Plug-In Figure 2b. Complementation Figure 2c. Integration

Plug-In. The package of academic curriculum and teaching is added into the vocational
curriculum of SMK, or the package of vocational curriculum and teaching is added into the
academic curriculum of SMA, These packages are managed as supplementary teaching and
learning. The Plug-in concept is illustrated in Figure 2a.
Complementation. Applied academic curriculum and teaching are integrated into vocational
subjects of the SMK curriculum, or vocational curriculum and teaching are integrated into
vocational subjects of the SMA curriculum. For example, the use of reading materials containing
messages about individuals at work, or about work in the academic subjects; the use of examples
related to lumber work, machinery, electronic, and other work into mathematics or physics; study
on implication of biology for health workers, implication of electricity on electronic and computer;
implication of physics on machinery design, and so on. This concept is illustrated in Figure 2b.
Integration. Academic curriculum and vocational curriculum are blended into one
curriculum. For example, one team of teachers consisting of mathematics teachers, science
teachers, language teachers, and particular vocational teachers (for instance, automotive, computer,
and agriculture) generate a combination of curriculum and its teaching.
There are four themes that characterize integrated SM as stated below.
(1) A richer and more organized curriculum enlarging academic, vocational, and generic skills
needed by all students who are willing to work or continue their study to higher education;
(2) A more facilitative teaching and learning (not didactic) which motivates students to learn and
supplies them with practical and understanding of application;
(3) Collaboration and coordination between vocational teachers and academic teachers in creating
a more unified learning experience; and
(4) More attention on knowledge and skills needed by students to make transition from schools to
work or higher education.
SMK + Academic package
SMA + Vocational package
Integrated SM
SMK + Academic package
SMA + Vocational package
Curriculum of
Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


Objectives And Focus Of Integrated Sm
(1) In a short term, a gap of education service in several regions as the effect of educational
unequity of SMA and SMK is resolved.
(2) In a long term, the system and model of integrated SM are already generated to increase
academic and technology literacy for high school graduates. In this century, students either
from vocational education or academic education are required to extensively join a program
which integrates vocational and academic study. In order to meet these needs, integrated SM is
expected to be an alternative model of education, in addition to the existing education
(3) Potential and skills of human resources in regions can be actualized and transformed to be life
skills which are relevant and appropriate with work, changes of employment structure and
social and economy, and labor needs in social and economy sectors.

The focus of integrated SM is developing the SMA or SMA graduates’ quality and
competence in the regions which face gaps in education services. The graduates are expected to be
able to have access and opportunities to get jobs or continue their study. It is oriented to life skills
education designed with an integrated approach, including the curriculum, teaching, structure of
organization, so that the integrated SM graduates are able to compete and play roles in real lives-
social life, culture, religion, work or economy. With good life skill education and training, they are
expected to have quality, relevant and functional life skills for their survival, properness, and
valuable life in the state of social changes-economy, politics, culture which occur and will occur
nationally, regionally, and locally.

Models Of Integration
In accordance with three concepts of integration which are proposed in this development
program, the models of integration in this regard are also categorized into three types. They are
plug-in, complementation, and perfect/full integration. These models are adapted from various
models suggested by Grubb, Davis, Lum, Phihal, and Morgaine (1991).

Model Plug-In
Plug-In 1: Adding academic learning packages into the vocational curriculum (at SMK), or
reversely, adding vocational learning packages into the academic curriculum (at SMA). For SMK
students, the academic teachers might teach them individually in the vocational classes or become
in-house tutor (informally) for those who need supplementary academic lessons. Meanwhile, for
SMA students, the vocational teachers might teach them individually in the academic classes or
become in-house tutor (informally) for those who need supplementary vocational lessons. The
packages developed are supplementary, reinforcement, and enrichment.
Plug-In 2: Vocational and academic teachers work in one team to develop academic classes
at SMK, and or to develop vocational classes at SMA. New classes “transplanted” at SMK or SMA
resemble the so called a model of “a school inside a school”.
Models of Combination
Combination 1: Developing academic curriculum (or some part of academic curriculum) to
be more vocationally relevant by combining a vocational application within academic subjects (at
SMA); and by designing applied academic classroom instruction which is more relevant with
Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


vocational classroom instruction (at SMK), for example, inclusion of writing practices such as
making resumes and business letters in English classes; or inclusion of activities such as
investigating types and compositions of jobs in various work or industry in social science classes.
Combination 2: Combining vocational and academic curricula to be more reciprocally
compatible. The curriculum modification can be completed by parallelizing or juxtaposing
academic curriculum and vocational curriculum either horizontally or vertically. Horizontal
juxtaposition is accomplished by parallelizing academic and vocational subjects in such a way that
can make students learn identical topics in two subjects at the same time. For instance, a vocation
teacher and a mathematics teacher juxtapose their classroom instructions. In this point, the topics of
mathematics needed in relation to various types of calculation-width, volume, algebra related to
heat removal and simple trigonometry-are taught at the same time. In terms of vertical
juxtaposition, it is executed by constructing sequence of academic and vocational classroom
instructions which are reciprocally strengthening. This coordination goes on in periods of time. As
an illustration, for the last two years, students have set aside some of their time to learn in the
vocational hub, and some other time they learn applied academic subjects.

Models of Integration
Integration 1: Integration of academic and vocational teaching is embodied in the form of
project showing the mastery of some competences. The project is designed by involving physical
activities which need vocational skills, writing reports, and presentation. The project is usually
completed in the last year, and it is considered as the peak achievement. In doing the project,
students learn several academic skills, experience real work in various activities, conduct research,
solve the problems, and present findings or products of the project.
Integration 2: integration is done in the form of “a school inside a school”. Schools are
endorsed to focus on certain vocations such as automotive, computer, agriculture, heath care,
electronic, business, culinary, fashion, etc. In particular, the teacher team of mathematics, English,
science, and certain vocations combine their teaching, and they guide groups of students for several
years. Small classes are typically suggested.
Integration 3: Developing academic and vocational curricula and teaching in a parallel way
within a learning period. The curriculum and teaching are modified and coordinated across
subjects. Vocational and academic teachers (starting from at least two people to all) work together.

Transformational Strategies Toward Integrated SM
There are three stages of development to be completed within 5 – 6 years to transform
conventional high schools to be integrated SM.
Pioneering Stage
This stage is carried out within the first year of integration. The integration is realized
through “sticking” the vocational education program to SMA or academic education program to
SMK and vocational classroom instruction at SMA and classroom instruction at SMK.
Complementation Stage
This stage is executed for three years focusing on complementation. In this respect, academic
teachers are motivated to work together with vocational teachers to design and advance curriculum
and classroom instruction by combining learning materials, or to design curriculum and classroom
instruction both in academic and vocational education by juxtaposing academic and vocational
teaching so that both subjects are present and learned at the same time. This juxtaposition occurs
either horizontally or vertically.
Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


Full Integration Stage
This stage is carried out for the next two (2) or three (3) years. The academic and vocational
curricula are modified and managed across subjects during the learning period. The organization of
subjects should be coherent. Teachers play more roles to help students behind occupation groups
and work collaboratively than in academic and vocational groups that are separated departmentally.
Institutionally, the integration of academic and vocational teaching and learning is also supported
by the expansion of guidance and counseling on career and other groups’ activities.
The stages of transformation are presented in Figure 3 below.

Strengths Of Integrated SM
1. Boosting motivation. An integrated education is an ideal way to support schools in
maintaining students with low learning motivation as they are not interested in strengths of
academic education, but know the strengths of having vocational skills to get a job.
2. Connecting with jobs. The programs’ component giving students opportunities to work, obtain
job experience of a preferable field, and build a link with entrepreneurs or employers, assists
them to determine their career after they graduate.
3. Providing equal services. An integrated education also neutralizes an impression of
stratification and discrimination in service and treatment that occur in their schools and work
places. This technique provides students with opportunities to identify their academic
competence and thinking so that they can decide a right program for their future.
4. Providing rich learning atmosphere. Learning integration of academic and vocation supply
students with opportunities of real problem-based learning. Following a cognitive
apprenticeship model, integration is an effective learning strategy and a curricular activity
strategy as well to foster students to develop their cognitive skills through the application of
Year I Year II Year III Year IV Year V Year VI
Integrated (fully integrated)
F Fi ig gu ur re e 3 3. . S Sc ch ho oo ol l T Tr ra an ns sf fo or rm ma at ti io on n P Pr ro oc ce es ss s
Reformulating the Paradigm of Technical and Vocational Education


academic learning and practical situations.
5. Improving the quality of laborers. Labors need not only those who are competent in dealing
with discreet tasks as usually educated by traditional vocational schools, but also those who
have skills to solve problems so that they become more flexible when doing their work.
Students graduating from integrated SM will be readier to meet the work demands at present
and future.
Elements Of Success
A proper model for a school, area, or region should be established on the basis of the
programs, local human resources, local asset potential, and students’ needs. However, several
elements are required in order to endorse the success of a program as presented below.
 Vision and commitment from those who are involved in developing the programs
 Sustainable supports from institutions and regency government
 New financial sources for funding
 Teacher training
 On-going evaluation
 Sufficient time for implementation
Barron, B.J., Schwartz, D.L., Vey, N.J., Moore, A., Petrosino, A., Zech, L., Bransford, J. D., & The
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. 1998. Doing with Understanding: Lessons
from Research on Problem- and Project-Based Learning. The Journal of the Learning Science,
7, 271—311.
Berryman, S.E., Flaxman E, & Inger, M. 1992. Integrating Academic and Vocational Education:
An Equitable Way to Prepare Middle Level Students for the Future. ERIC Digest, No. 83,
Billett, S. 1996. Towards a Model of Workplace Learning: The Learning Curriculum. Studies in
Continuing Education, 18(1), 43—58.
Bodilly, S., Ramsey, K., Staz, C. , & Eden, R. 1993. Integrating Academic and Vocational
Education: Lesson from Eight Early Innovators. R-4265-NCRVE/UCB.
Brook, J.G., & Brook, M.G. 1993. The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Verginia: ASCD.
Brook, J.G., & Brook, M.G. 1999. The Contructivist Classroom. The Courage to Be Constructivist.
Readyroom, 57(3) November 1999.
Gagne, E.D. 1985. The Cognitve Psychology of School Learning. Boston: Little, Brown, and
Grubb, W.N., Davis, G., Lum, J., Plihal, J., & Morgaine, C. 1991. The Cunning Hand, The
Cultured Mind: Model for Integrating Vocational and Academic Education. Berkeley, CA:
National Center for Research in Vocational Education.
Kerka S. 1997. Constructivism, Workplace Learning, and Vocational Education. ERIC Digest No.
181. ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education Columbus Ohio.
Lankard, B.A 1992. Integrating Academic and Vocational Education: Strategies for
Implementation. ERIC Digest No. 120, ED346317.
Marzano, R.J. 1992. A Different Kind of Classroom: Teaching with Dimensions of Learning.
Verginia: ASCD.
Murphy, E. 1997. Constructivism: From Theory to Practice.
Waras Kamdi & Djoko Saryono. 2003. Naskah Akademik Pendidikan Kecakapan Hidup di SMA.
Jakarta: Ditdikmenum, Ditjendikdasmen.
Wilson, B.G. 1995. Metaphors for Instruction: Why We Talk About Learning Environments.
Educational Technology, September-Oktober, 25—30.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.