Fri, 06 Jun 2003

Councillors say no to project

YOGYAKARTA: Yogyakarta councillors have urged the provincial administration to refuse the central government's offer to make the city a pilot project for an education services liberalization program, saying the project would lead to higher education fees.

The call was made during a hearing with the provincial education office and the provincial development planning agency on Tuesday.

Six countries -- the United States, Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand -- have proposed opening up education services here, based on a World Trade Organization agreement signed by Indonesia in 1994.

The chairman of Commission E overseeing education, Slamet Saiful Muslimin, said liberalizing services could increase the cost of education in the province, particularly at the university level. If that were to happen, it would prevent students from poor families from receiving a higher education, he said.

The councillors urged the administration to study the matter before making a decision. -- JP