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CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT IN VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
TO PRODUCE SKILLED WORKERS

Y O T O
State University of Malang

Abstract
The development of vocational education curriculum especially Vocational High School
(SMK) has to be in ongoing process to fulfill the demand of business and industrial sectors.
The development of curriculum follows the progress and the development of science,
technology, culture and art; and involving related parties so that link and match can occur
between technological and vocational educational institutions and their graduates’ employers.
In order to make the curriculum relevant with the development of science and technology as
well as globalization and reformation demands in Indonesia, education curriculum then should
gradually be reviewed and corrected according to visions, missions, and developmental
strategies of national education stated in the policy for increasing participation number, quality,
relevance, and educational efficiency.

Keywords: Curriculum, Vocational High School

Vocational High School is aimed to improve students’ ability in upgrading their quality in
accordance with the development of science, technology, and art; as well as preparing them to
enter work field and improve their professionalism (Indonesian Minister of Education and
Culture’s Decision Number: 0490/U/1992 Section 2). According to Billett (2011), the goals of
vocational education focus on: (1) preparation to enter work field, (2) career selection, (3)
competence develop-ment, and (4) experience provision to support the professional transition from
one position to another.
Vocational education policy has started in developing countries since 1990s. The
conceptualization of related vocational education is related to the abilities to use tools and
machines (Sanders, 2001). Sanders views high school vocationalization as a way to increase the
relevance between vocational education and technology. Vocationalization means introducing
practical and/or vocational lessons, industrial visit, vocational advisory, and teaching methods
which lead more to application. The research conducted by Lauglo (2005) shows that the
economical goals is one of the main motivations to introduce more work-oriented vocational
education, practical lesson and curriculum. Vocational education, as it is suggested by Miller
(1985), also makes the production more efficient and improve the male and female ability by
assisting them to rise from uneducated laborer to industrially favored skilled worker.
Sutrisno (2006) believes that education and training is one way or probably the only way to
prepare competent employees that possess comparative and competitive qualities. It is explicitly
supported by Pavlova (2009) that compe-tence-based training is chosen by most governments in
the West as a model of vocational education. To get the middle-level employees ready, the role of
vocational education is very strategic and significance. Theoritically, the improvement of quantity
and quality of vocational high schools is requiered for the provision of laborers so that they can
play their role as the development asset, rather than burden. To fulfil the demands of business and
industrial sectors for qualified labores, the curriculum in vocational education departmen is then
necessary.
Reformation in vocational education has shown positive sympthoms. However, there are
still a lot of components that need to be prepared such as curriculum, human resources (teacher
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and other educational staffs), students’ access, learning method, fund, and media and infrastructure
(Depdikbud, 1999a). The main feature of vocational education reformation is a big change in
philosophy: supply-driven view to demand-driven view. To fulfil the philo-sophical view, the
vocational school curriculum is developed to be a new curriculum known as Competency-Based
Curriculum (CBC). The development of curriculum is a dynamic process that run along with the
government’s structural change and the development of science, technology, and globalization
(Hamalik, 2006).
The underlying question before we continue to the discussion of competence-based
curriculum development is: What is competence? Competence, according to Joni (1980), refers to
the ability to perform something obtained through education and/or training. In other words,
competence is a fundamental ability that implies what someone is able to in fulfilling his/her duty.
Competence reflects ability to do something, which is so different with merely knowing something
in traditional curriculum. In more specific term, CBC is a curriculum that emphasizes on mastery
of some knowledge, behavior, and certain skill including their application in the work field.
Competency Based Curriculum demands the learning approach used to be based on competency-
based learning, in which the planning, implementation, and assessment of learning process refer to
the competence mastery (Depdikbud, 1999b).
Vocational education is a high school education that prioritizes the improvement of
students’ abilities in performing certain work (Rivai & Murni, 2010: 91). According to Billett
(2011), vocational high school’s goals focus on (1) the preparation to enter work field, (2) career
selection, (3) competence improve-ment, and (4) experience asset to support professional
transition from one position to another. By refering to those goals, competence involves three
things: (1) what people bring to work; examples: personal quality, skill and knowledge, behavior,
experience, responsibility and accountability, (2) what people do in work field; duty, process, and
behavior: planning, controlling, machines provision, welding, attachment, etc, (3) what people
obtain; standard and output: the expected last result is ideally achieved by competent people.
According to English concept, as it is written in curriculum (2004), competence is details about
something someone has to do within his or her professional boundary, elaborating their actions,
behavior and the last result they have to show.
Referring to the above explanation, the development of vocational education curriculum is a
new activity that should be done ongoingly and continously and should attract the related parties
since curriculum is a guidance for the education practitioners both in schools or universities.
General policy in curriculum development should go in accordance with visions, missions, and
developmental strategy of national education manifested in the policy of increasing participation
number, quality, relevance, and education efficiency (Hamalik, 2006). Beyond that, curriculum
arrangement and development in high school level should pay attention to the interest of the higher
educational level such as university (Sudiyono, 2004).
In addition, curriculum development should still refer to alumni competency standard,
alumni ability qualification, which covers behavior, knowledge and skills, as it is stated in
Peraturan Pemerintah RI Nomor 19 Tahun 2005 Pasal 1 ayat 4. Standard competency can be
achieved with the availability of teachers, process standard, media and infrastructure standard,
management standard, financial standard, and assessment standard.

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Curriculum Organization in Vocational High School
Curriculum is a set of plan and rules of goals, content, learning material, and methods as a
guidance in conducting learning activity to achieve education goals (PP RI No 19 Tahun 2005
Pasal 1, ayat 13). Attitude and decision making on the concepts and recommendations to develop
vocational education curriculum makes decision makers act immediately in running the curriculum
of vocational high school, regarding the fact that science and technology run very rapidly. In the
beginning of curriculum organization for vocational education, the procedures grow from
experiences in industry such as what Charles R. Allen does; he develops many concepts to
organize the curriculum from his own experiences in ship industry which is as interesting as
curriculum organization for modern industry (Arikunto, 1988:252).
According to Arikunto (1988), new steps that have to be through in the development of
curriculum are: (1) doing profession analysis, identification on works to be completed by every
worker in the field, (2) determining the ability to carry out a duty to finish, (3) selecting materials
that can support the achievement of the assigned duty from the position analysis with goals to be
achieved through learning program, (4) formulating specific instructional goals in cognitive,
affective, and psychomotoric areas, (5) identifying learning strategies to be used, (6) determining
job distribution order for every instructional guidelines based on the learning strategies, (7)
grouping duties after the determination of learning strategies (8) selecting instructional method and
materials organization that goes along with the time allotment and goal achievement, and (10)
conducting learning evaluation activity.
Sudirman (1989:36-37) suggests that curriculum development can be done in several levels:
(1) macro curriculum development in national confine, refering to National Education Goals in
Undang-undang Sistem Pendidikan Nasional; (2) curriculum development in institutional level,
which is adjusted to the visions, missions, and goals of related educational institutions; (3)
curriculum development in every lesson/subject by elaborating the general principles of learning
program in a form of syllabus and probably with some additional development of subtopic relevant
to field situation and condition; (4) curriculum development in instructional program level, such
as the development of modul series, learning series, students’ worksheet, learning agenda unit, etc.

Main Policies in Curriculum Development of Vocational High School
Vocational high school basically does not concern with teaching and learning process only
but also with the environment. The environment covers social and economical condition of the
parents, students’ physical and mental health, school environment, and family background.
Based on this consideration, Arikunto (1988) believes that vocational education curriculum
should be organized well so that: (1) the preparation to enter work field become the responsibily of
educational program held by the society, (2) goal oriented curri-culum is given to sixteen-or more-
year old children, (3) the curri-culum is arranged to suit the current social and economical
condition and youth’s matureness, (4) centered curriculum concept is based on job achievement
goals for the students and provides meaningful preparation for work field in technological society,
and (5) the curriculum is arranged by regarding the skill masteri and students’ future.
Government Rules Number 29 year 1990 about High School Education carries out some
changes of plan for vocational education in the future. The changes and new paradigm lead to the
fundamental improvement and change in relation to the developmental improvement and rapid
progress of science, technology, culture, and art, supported by shophisticated information
technology.
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Policy changes in technological and vocational policy is meant also to cover society’s view
about the current and future condition and situation. The policy changes to technological and
vocational education are mentioned in table 1.

Table 1. Main Reformation Policy in the Curriculum of Technological and Vocational
Education
No Past Future
1. Supply-driven system is based on
large social demand
demand driven system guided by integrated
work parket signal
2. school based system that offers
certificate on test result
Education and training system that offers
national standard competence
3. school based system with minimal
flexibility in presentation
education and training system with multi
input/output and flexible presentation
4. no official recognition on the
achieved material
an explisit system that recognizes the
learned material anywhere and anytime
5. school based system with study
program orientation
acknowledged-profession-oriented
education and training system
6. formal-sector-oriented education and
training
educaton and training for formal and non
formal sector
8. centered management system decentralized management system
9. Institution or organization that is
completely operated by central
government
Institution or organization that can supports
operational fund with some aid from
government
Source: Djoyonegoro, 1997:12
The changes of vocational education policy influence the changes and development of
technological and vocational education curriculum, both in high school level or university level.

Principles of Curriculum Development at Vocational High School
Curriculum at vocational high school is developed by refering to certain principles, the ones
that becomes the underlying guidance. The use of “long life principle”, for example, oblidges
curriculum development by systemizing the curriculum in such a way so that the alumni can be
educated and have high and everlasting learning spirit. Curriculum development can use the
growing daily principles or to invent itself the new principles. Therefore, school curriculum always
uses different principles one from another, especially when KTSP becomes the current trend.
The principles usually used in curriculum development is followed by some notes about the
implications. Those principles, according to Sudirman (1989:31) are:
(a) Goal oriented principle; the implication manages to make all curriculum activities leading to
achieve formulated education goals.
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(b) Relevance principle; the implication carries on curriculum development in such a way so
that the alumni of vocational education can fulfill the types and quality of workers needed by
society (bussiness/industrial sectors).
(c) Efficiency principle; the implication organizes to make curricular activities make use of the
time, energy, fund, and other sources carefully and precisely so that the results can fulfill the
expectation.
(d) Effectiveness principle; the implication manages to make curricular activities achieve the
education goals without useless education activities.
(e) Flexibility principle; the implication carries out to make the curriculum flexible, adjustable
to the local situation and condition and era development without reorganizing the achieved
education goals.
(f) Integrity principle; the implication manages to make the education activities and curriculum
result in the intact human being even though the curricular activities are elaborated into
normative, adaptive, and productive components.
(g) Continuity principle; the implication carries out to make every curricular activity continous
part of other curricular activities both gradually or horizontally.
(h) Synchronization principle; the implication manages to make the curriculer activities having
the same directions; not to obstruct, oppose, or wither the others away.
(i) Objectivity principle; the implication carries out to make all the curricular activities follow
the scientific truth order by putting the emotional and irrational influences aside either from
students, teachers, or education manager.
(j) Democracy principle; the implication tries to make the implementation of education within
the boundary of democratic curriculum.

Vocational education is included in holistic educational framework, but the vocational
curriculum has certain characteristics that distinguish it from other educational environments
(Finch and Crunkilton, 1979). The characteristics meant by Finch and Crunkilton are: (1) process
and product oriented curriculum; (2) the curriculum which is based on the required work that has
been identified; (3) the curriculum focuses on helping the students develop their knowledge, skill
behavior, and values until each of them contributes to the alumni’s future job; (4) the standard of
students’ success at school is based on expected performance in work field; (5) determining
students’ success not only on what is happening at school, but also on the success of them in work
field; (6) the curriculum should be responsive to the society’s need; (7) the curriculum should
respond to social changes. It should be responsive to continous change at work field so that the
alumni can compete to get their work then get maximun achievement; (8) learning sources, tools,
supply, and facility are very critical factors to determine the success and fail of curriculum; and (9)
vocational curriculum often needs a large amount of fund; the tools should be renewed periodically
and the fund for practices need continous budget.
To form a curriculum, the characteristics should be really measured because every
characteristic give powerful influence on curriculum development process that eventually affect
the achievement of vocational education goals.
If we watch carefully at the principles of curriculum development, we will know that those
principles come from various view sources: psychology, management, economy, educaton,
phylosophy, etc. Regardless of any curriculum principle used, in modern life, curriculum
developers cannot avoid modernity principle, which implies that curriculum material is always
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located in modernity process as an effort to follow the latest development of science and
technology.
In organizing vocational education curriculum, there are a few things that curriculum
developes have to figure on. Prosser (in Arikunto, 1988) proposes theorems in vocational
education known as Prosser’s Sixteen Theorems on Vocational Education. The sixteen theorems
are explained below:
(1) Vocational education will be efficient if the learning environment suits the working
environment.
(2) Vocational practices will be effective only of the duty given has similar operationals with
the same tools and machines to be used in work.
(3) Education will be effective if it is adapted to the behaviors shown in the work since the first
day of training.
(4) In vocational education, the trainer should be experienced and should apply his knowledge
and skills in teaching.
(5) Vocational education should recognize work condition and should fulfill the expectation of
work market or business/industrial sectors.
(6) The most appropriate data source to determine educational material is expericence which is
closely related to work
(7) Effective vocational training for all profession, trade, and work can only be given to chosen
groups that really needs them and can use them well.
(8) Vocational education training can be effective if the training, special experience, can be
realized in the right habits to do and think repeatedly until the proper mastery is obtained in
the work
(9) For every job, there is a minimum standard of abilities that individuals should have to get
certain work
(10) Effective stabilization process about habits for every students will be very dependent on the
proportion of how training give opportunity to know the real work.
(11) Vocational education will be effective if the training is given directly and specifically in
accordance with students’ interest and talents
(12) Certain job has crucial part; and some other parts can be suitable for other job or position.
(13) Vocational education can be felt efficient in providing social services at certain times and
for certain needs.
(14) Vocational education is beneficial socially if the relationship among human beings is
concerned.
(15) Vocational education administration is efficient if it is flexible.
(16) Vocational education should be conducted effectively and efficiently.

If we look closer, the theorems are harmonious with the strategies of education development
in Indonesia, link and match concept, and realized in vocational high school in a form of multiple
system education (PSG). The main pattern in vocational high school curriculum 1994 is continued
by 1999 edition implemented since academic year 1999/2000, and completed to be 2004
curriculum that started from 2004/2005 and now become Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan
(KTSP) that is adopted and adapted from the previous curriculum of 2007 up to now.
According to Reksoadmodjo (2010:134-135), curriculum content selection should be
based on collected data that comes from the input of industrial community and bussiness sector. It
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should previously be discussed in school forum and school committee as well as KTSP developer
team by paying attention to students’ characteristics and work variety. What is discussed by
curriculum developer team are the availability of instructors, media and infrastructure and
defrayal.
Link and Match is a strategy of technological and vocational education development
(PTK) in Indonesia, a work system that seek proper interrelation between school world and work
world that is aimed to lessen discrepancy between both worlds after the students finish their
education. The effort to create link and match between education and business/industrial sector is
necessary in increasing human resource quality mandated in Undang-undang Dasar 1945. To
realize this concept, a relevant curriculum with society’s need is required.
To make the curriculum relevant with the development of science and technology and the
demand of globalization and reformation in Indonesia, vocational education curriculum should
gradually and continously be reviewed and perfected along with the needs in the view of content or
field realization. Rubin (1977:69) states “A science curriculum should not be static. It should be
based upon the up-to-date knowledge of the discipline”. Educational institution in which the
curriculum is always arranged based on science development and era demand is expected to result
in alumni that are ready to serve society because of the knowledge obtained that goes along with
era development.

Conclusion
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that:
1. Curriculum development of vocational high school should be ongoing and in accordance with
the development and progression of science, technology, culture and art.
2. Curriculum development of vocational high school should use the following principles: goal
oriented, relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, integrity, continuity, synchronization,
objectivity, and democracy.
3. Curriculum change and development should involve many related parties so that Link and
Match can occur between technological and vocational education institution, especially
vocational high school, with business/industrial sectors and other alumni.
4. General policy in curriculum development of vocational high school sould run in accordance
with the visions, missions, and strategies of national education development stated in the
policies of the increase of participation number, quality, relevance, and education efficiency.

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