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Government in partnership talks with more start-ups amid preemployment card controversy

first_imgIn providing online courses to help the participants upskill and reskill themselves, the government currently partners with eight start-ups, including Skill Academy, which is owned by e-learning platform Ruangguru, Pintaria and MauBelajarApa. The participants will use the money transferred to their e-wallet to pick and purchase any training they need.However, the pre-employment card, which is aimed mainly at offering relief for laid-off workers and owners of small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, has been subject to criticism. The public accused the management of a conflict of interest for partnering with a start-up linked to an expert staff member of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.Read also: Govt introduces new social benefits as 2.8 million lose jobsIn response to the controversy, the expert staffer in question, Adamas Belva Devara, who is also the CEO of Ruangguru, resigned on Tuesday, despite explaining that he had not been involved in any partnership discussion or the appointment of Ruangguru as a partner in the program. The government is in talks with four start-ups to forge partnerships for the preemployment card program as it wants to add more online courses despite recent backlash over the program’s partner selection process and courses.The program management’s president director, Denni Purbasari, said adding new partners was intended to encourage more start-ups to grow. It was expected to take four to eight weeks to evaluate whether a company was suitable to be a partner in the program.“I believe competition will promote innovation, it will push the price to be competitive and encourage more training institutions to partner with the program,” Denni said in an online briefing on Wednesday. “There will be more options for small training institutions to work with the partners.” Denni admitted that there was no open selection process prior to the existing partners’ appointments. Her office chose the start-ups because they had a national network, the necessary information and technology capacity, suitable courses and partnerships with training institutions, among other things.Furthermore, the program management had held consultations with tech companies, researchers, labor unions, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) and representatives from more than 50 companies before the appointments, according to Denni.“Ruangguru’s core business is selling courses, and it is big,” said Denni, who previously served as the Executive Office of the President’s economic advisor. “We cannot ignore this fact.”Aside from Skill Academy, the program management is also partnering with a government agency and six other companies, including e-commerce firms Bukalapak and Tokopedia, to provide more than 1,500 courses.Read also: Sewing masks to silky pudding making: Training available with preemployment cardFollowing its launch on April 11, the preemployment card has attracted more than 7.6 million applicants as of Wednesday. With Rp 20 trillion (US$1.2 billion) in allocated funds, the program aims to cover 5.6 million recipients this year. Only 168,111 participants were admitted in the first phase, while the rest would be admitted in later ones.Under the program, each recipient will get Rp 3.5 million worth of benefit, which will be disbursed in stages. To ensure they take the online courses, the program management will first disburse Rp 1 million to each recipient to pay for courses. After completing the training, the recipients will get Rp 600,000 in monthly benefits for four months on top of a Rp 150,000 incentive for participating in job surveys.Office of Coordinating Economic Minister secretary Susiwijono Moegiarso said the preemployment card was the only government aid targeted to support laid-off and furloughed workers in both the formal and the informal sector as well as the owners of small businesses.“The number of applicants has reached 7.6 million in just 12 days, reflecting the public’s extraordinary response,” Susi said in the same online briefing on Wednesday. “On the other hand, we are also empathizing with the many people in need of the assistance.”Denni said the program was also preparing to accommodate hundreds of thousands of youth entering the workforce in June as they finished senior high school but did not immediately move on to college. They might struggle to find a job as the economy was taking a downturn due to the outbreak.According to data updated on Monday by the Manpower Ministry, as many as 2.2 million workers reported that the outbreak had affected their jobs. More than half of them were formal-sector workers furloughed by 43,690 companies.“Laying off is an emergency measure when no other measures are feasible,” Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah was quoted as saying in a statement released on Wednesday. “But we are encouraging firms to try measures such as eliminating overtime, reducing working hours or furloughing workers in turn while paying them half.”Topics :last_img read more

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James Harden explains why he wore controversial ‘Blue Lives Matter’ mask

first_imgRockets star James Harden started trending on Twitter Thursday night, and it wasn’t because he entered the NBA bubble.Harden was seen wearing a mask that featured the United States flag with a blue line and a Punisher skull on top. The blue line is labeled as the “thin blue line” and is used as a sign of support for the Blue Lives Matter movement. The blue line refers to the blue color of uniforms worn by many police departments. James Harden: “It was just something that covered my whole beard. I thought it looked cool. That was it.” Harden said he’s in process of determining how he will voice his support for the Black Lives Matter while in NBA bubble, including whether he will have a message on jersey.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 17, 2020James Harden on mask he wore yesterday: “I wasn’t trying to make a political statement..I wore it b/c it covered my whole face,my beard. .As I clearly talked about yesterday,me finding a way,whether it’s my jersey name or another way,to show my support for the Black Lives Matter” pic.twitter.com/2BMyH51peM— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 17, 2020Harden also spoke with reporters Thursday and said he was in favor of the nationwide protests that followed George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.The Rockets begin their season restart July 31 in a game against the Mavericks. The Punisher skull has also become a popular symbol within the same movement. Mask Up📸 @NBA pic.twitter.com/PFsIuJybYb— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 17, 2020MORE: A list of players opting out of 2020 NBA seasonThe mask Harden was wearing is called “Blue Line Patriot” and the company that makes it says in the description, “Just when you think you’ve seen all we had to offer those who protect and serve. Remember those who have fallen with our new Thin Blue Patriot design.”Many saw Harden wearing this mask as support for the Blue Lives Matter movement at a time when police brutality has been the subject of protests around the world, and he was heavily criticized as a result.”This certified clown s—,” rapper Trey Songz tweeted about Harden. “I’ll say it for everybody who scared to. FOH.”Harden addressed the controversy in a Zoom call with reporters Friday. The Rockets star said the mask was not meant as a political statement, and that he only wore it because it’s a long mask that covers his beard.last_img read more

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