Indonesia still has considerable areas for improvement in developing its human capital. The education system still faces significant quality and access challenges, while unemployment remains a real concern. The pace of employment growth is much slower than population growth, with the highest unemployment rate being among youth, who are encountering difficulties finding their place in the national workforce. Moreover, the workforce is undergoing significant change because of the burgeoning of information communications technologies. With this change rural youth will potentially experience an increased risk of workforce ‘drop out’, as ‘traditional employment categories, are replaced by those grounded in new digital technologies. Rural youth are thus susceptible to being doubly disadvantaged in terms of securing employment.
In 2007, the non-formal education center, called the Slukat Learning Center (SLC), was established in rural Gianyar, Bali to improve employment opportunities and facilitate empowerment by providing educational opportunities for rural children and youth. This research project explores how the curriculum at the learning center has been able to develop youth empowerment. Drawing upon data from interviews of the SLC Chairman, students, parents, teachers, staffs and alumni, this research is focused upon how the curriculum has been able to empower rural Balinese youth, in ways that have enabled them to become future workforce ready.
Aiming to contribute to the research in the field of youth empowerment through non-formal education, the data were analyzed using Bourdieu’s Social Reproduction Theory. The preliminary analysis indicates that SLC can be considered a field within which the curriculum facilitates youth empowerment through supporting the construction of a new habitus and acquisition of a range of economic, cultural and social capitals.