700 UI students face expulsion
DEPOK (JP): About 700 University of Indonesia students said on Tuesday they were ready to be expelled rather than pay an extra fee for the upcoming semester.
Head of the UI students executive board Taufik Riyadi said he and his colleagues were preparing themselves to face dismissal as they could not afford to pay the fee, called the Education Quality Improvement Fund (DPKP).
"That's the worst eventuality. But if it happens, it's going to be a bad precedence (for the university)," Taufik told The Jakarta Post after rallying along with hundreds of other students at UI campus in Depok, south of Jakarta, demanding the rectorate drop the charge.
The University of Indonesia is state-owned.
Taufik said the fund, which has been paid into by students from 1999 onward, had been improperly used.
"One year on from the implementation of the DPKP, I haven't seen any significant improvement in the quality of education here," Taufik said.
"We have new computers, yes, but the quality of lecturers is still the same. For instance, they still come to classes late."
In July, Taufik said earlier that part of the fund was being used to increase lecturers' pay.
Students at the School of Exact Sciences and Engineering (MIPA) have to pay Rp 1 million (US$122) for the DPKP per semester. Social science students are required to pay Rp 750,000.
Besides this, all students are required to pay Rp 500,000 for tuition per semester.
Secretary of the UI Student Board Indra Falatehan said the university rectorate office was sticking with the DPKP.
"We have to understand that education is really expensive," said Umar Mansur, assistant to rector for student affairs.
He acknowledged that since last year the university no longer received funding from the government.
However, he objected to the fact that students were being made to make up the shortfall.
"The rectorate should be more creative and look for other sources," Indra said, adding that students had suggested the rectorate lure UI alumni to help with the fund.
Separately, Umar said UI was struggling to cover financial shortages because government funding kept decreasing.
"Last year, the government gave us Rp 14 billion, plus a Rp 3 billion operational fund.
"But this year, we only got Rp 9 billion with no operational funds," Umar told the Post.
He explained that the cost of educating a student came to an average of Rp 10 million per year. The university, he said, served an average of between 14,000 and 15,000 students per year.
"We are asking for the DPKP because we know that most students can afford it," Umar said.
"Besides, students who can not afford to pay can come to the rectorate and ask for a reduction," Umar said.
So far, 263 new students have applied for a reduction, he added.
Umar said that to obtain a cut in the DPKP, students must submit their parents' addresses and a copy of their electricity bill.
"With those things, we will know if a student really can't afford to pay in full or not," Umar said. (jaw/21)