The modern world is more connected than ever. The widespread availability of technology makes communication across borders and territories easy. And as international communication has become standard, a common mode of communication has gained prominence: English has become the language of business.
Studies suggest that there are around 360 million native English speakers globally, but it’s estimated that 1.5 billion people around the world speak English.
English is one of the lessons in vocational high school. Mastering English is beneficial for SMK students as it can help them in their career. It is possible for students to communicate in English when they are at work after graduating. For example, Pharmacy students, they can work in a big drug factory that has many English speaking employees. They must be able to communicate in English. Another example is nursing students. Ability in English is a must as they will posibly interact with foreigners in International Hospital. Futhermore, English is also used when they have to write letter or electronic mail in English, look for some sources in English and read manual in English. Last but not least, student needs a certificate of English competence accepted nationally even internationally.
TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is a foreign language proficiency certification that is recognized internationally. It becomes global standart to measure English ability. It can give reliable, comprehensive and comparable result that can give important as consideration in recruitment process, promotion, and assesmnet, in choosing the best person where English ability necessary. Then, TOEIC score are consistent and reliable with time and across administration. In addition, TOEIC scores can be used to evaluate English learning and training progress. We can choose to take listening and reading or speaking and writing assesment or we can take both. (https://itc-indonesia.com/toeic).
TOEIC test is used by industries, Vocational high school, polytechnic and job seekers. Vocational high schools use TOEIC especially for XI and XII grade students to give additional skill. The skill and its certificate are used to compete for the job after they graduate. Industries used TOEIC test to know the competence of the new employees and as one of the requirements to be recruited. Foreign language skills, including English, are the main assets to get a job nowadays.
The Ministry of Education and Culture through the Directorate of Vocational High Schools (DSMK) has opened opportunities for Vocational High School throughout Indonesia to obtain international certification assistance through the “SMK English Challenge 2020 program – Facilitating the International Certification Exam for English Language Proficiency with TOEIC for SMK Students”. The program is free as it is financed by the government. Some of my students who pass the vierra selection can join this program and get the opportunity to get a national English certificate. In addition, my students will find out what the TOEIC test looks like and how difficult it is. We just joined this program in 2020 and 46 students passed the vierra selection to take the TOEIC test.
About 1,500 English teachers are given Technical Guidance regarding how to teach TOEIC effectively to students. During the Learning period, students can take part in a video conference session led by Mrs. Hafilia Ismanto (ETS Approved Facilitator) assisted by the academic team through a webex event facilitated by the Directorate of Vocational Schools and YouTube live streaming.
TOEIC learning materials and preparation packages are provided in the form of Google Classroom and TOEIC Practice Book-Digital Version so that students are ready for the TOEIC exam. The implementation of the TOEIC exam uses the Computer Based Testing (CBT) method which is supervised by the Remote Proctoring approach.
Thus the implementation of the TOEIC exam can reach all areas from Sabang to Merauke as well as an answer to the need for implementation in the midst of a pandemic. During the implementation period, there were no less challenges and difficulties faced related to infrastructure so that some schools experienced difficulties in following this final stage.
All activities ranging from selection to the TOEIC exam are carried out according to international test procedures while adhering to the Covid-19 health protocol. The hope is that taking the TOEIC 2020 test can bring the provision of TOEIC international certification, and there will be more opportunities for students to win the competition in the World of Work.
Does TOEIC really important?
With the increasing global economy and work culture, English has become a sign of international expansion and thus a symbol of growth for companies. Therefore, job applicants are asked to create an attractive profile, which can show that they are indeed able to fight on an international scale. Here TOEIC certification is needed.
By having this TOEIC certificate, their chances of working in a foreign company will be even higher and they can add good grades to their CV. If they have high scores on the TOEIC, they will be judged to be able to use professional English, which is English for business.
By Aditya Dwi Saputri, M.Pd.B.I
English Teacher at Binatama Health and Vocational High School