Mon, 17 Sep 2007
From: The Jakarta Post
By Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
For some, the notion of a businessman running a company for profit and at the same time a school for charity might seem odd.

Not so for James Riady, chairman of the Lippo Group of companies and the Pelita Harapan Educational Foundation.

James has taken over from his father and group founder, Mocthar Riady, and now manages Lippo's sprawling business group, which covers everything from financial services to property and multimedia.

Though known as a businessman, he insists he is not in the field of education for the money.

Although Pelita Harapan is known for its prestigious campuses and high tuitions, James says the foundation will remain true to its social mission to better the country.

"Education is not a business for me. But we have to admit that quality education is expensive, and schools must be run in a business-like manner -- as an industry -- to maintain that quality."

"Education is the basis for nation-building. It can, through developing a nation's human resources, improve the nation's welfare, and this is how my family and I can contribute to that."

With the foundation's plan to establish a total of 10 prestigious schools, 100 schools for students from middle-income families and 1,000 schools for lower-income students throughout the country, James' words should be taken seriously.

The Pelita Harapan Foundation currently runs four schools -- in Pluit and in Lippo's three satellite cities surrounding Jakarta: Karawaci, Cikarang and Bukit Sentul -- as well as a university in Karawaci.

Having provided numerous scholarships through the foundation and its schools, James' efforts have already received public acclaim, and he was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, for his achievements as a businessman and in developing education in Indonesia.

Explaining further his vision of "quality education", James discussed the need to reestablish several values that have been undermined in today's education system.

"An education system should not just instruct and teach students how to work, do business and make money."

"What's needed now is an education system that focuses on the learning process, and one that enables every child to develop to their full potential."

James supports the government's vision to provide a quality education for all citizens, but says private sector participation is necessary because of the government's still limited ability to provide such an education for all its people.

He says many Indonesians still cannot afford a quality education, and notes that many teachers colleges in the country have become ordinary universities at a time when Indonesia needs qualified teachers.

The Pelita Harapan Foundation intends to set up several teachers colleges.

"We must, for this, first reach a consensus on how important a new system of values in education and human capital development is for the nation," James said.

"If we have reached this, then we will be willing to spend more for such a quality education, with everyone also chipping in to develop better education in the country."

James threw himself into philanthropy at a rather difficult time for him personally and for the Lippo Group.

"I was so absorbed by my work, that I become self-centered, forgetting my relationship with my wife, my family and the community," James said.

The Lippo Group was also struggling to get back on its feet after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and James was dealing with a political donation scandal involving then U.S. president Bill Clinton.

"I was somewhat in ruins, I felt an emptiness, nothing else to look for. But then I started seeing things like never before. In particular, I saw Asia, including Indonesia, has such a huge potential to develop its welfare, but there is still such a disparity in terms of education and health."

That was when James ventured into education through the Pelita Harapan Foundation.

James, however, says he will remain active in running his family's business, particularly consolidating Lippo's group of companies.

But still, he says he gets more enjoyment now out of his involvement in education.


Tue, 18 Sep 2007
From: JakChat
Comment by Brit Boy

Is this the same guy that owns Kabelvision AND Astro satellite tv?

Well thanks James for screwing all of your customers over the EPL and making them pay again. You sound like a very charitable guy!!!

Nice company that Lippo Group ... ask Mr B. Clinton



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