Govt Reviews Migrant Training After Maid Tragedy

The Jakarta Globe

Officials on Friday vowed to review training programs for migrant workers as news reached the country that a maid who had attempted suicide after failing a Singaporean placement test had died in the hospital.

Sadono, the Asia-Pacific director for protection at the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (BNP2RKI), said the state would ensure that workers were prepared for life abroad before approving their permits.

“Workers who have not completed their training cannot be placed in any country to avoid any [problem] over the lack of skills or language training,” he said.

Last week, Sulastri Wardoyo, 26, tried to commit suicide by hanging herself at a hostel apparently because she flunked an English-language test three times, preventing her from working in the city-state.

Media reports said she suffered brain damage after the suicide attempt and was brought to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. Staff claimed that she had been depressed over the failure.

On Friday, the Straits Times reported that Sulastri passed away on Wednesday after being confined in intensive care.

Reyna Usman, secretary for training at the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, said Sulastri’s case highlighted the need to prepare workers mentally for the stresses of life abroad.

“[Aside from] language skills, they also need to prepare mentally,” she said, adding that the government should find out why Sulastri failed the test.

“It is very important for the government to craft pro-training policies. This needs to be discussed nationally,” she said.

The government requires private recruitment agencies to give preparation courses for workers and state bodies like the State Ministry for Women’s Empowerment also teaches skills.

But Reyna said the state should not depend on recruiters to provide quality instruction.

Anis Hidayah, the executive director of Migrant Care, said on Thursday that the government needed to “tighten supervision” of placement agencies.

She said migrant workers’ readiness should be measured by their ability to speak the language of their employer country, their completion of administrative requirements and the skills they need for the job.

Reyna said the government would evaluate the preparations provided by placement agencies.

“I acknowledge that training programs are still weak and the government needs to evaluate the migrant-worker training system,” she said.

“It would even be better if the government will also be involved in giving training to the migrant workers. That way, we can improve the quality of the workers we send abroad,” she added.

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