Fri, 22 Sep 2000

Education ministry to submit Rp 25t budget

JAKARTA (JP): The Ministry of National Education is set to submit a Rp 25 trillion education budget for 2001.

"This proposal, however, does not include the budget for sports," Minister Yahya Muhaimin told journalists on Thursday.

The proposed budget is higher than the current nine-month budget in which Rp 11 trillion was allocated for education.

"The figure (for sports) is still being calculated. It will probably be set at about Rp 12 billion for the 2001," he said.

The education budget for 2001 will be distributed in three sectors and 14 programs.

The three sectors are education, youth and national culture.

Most of the education budget will go to the first and second sectors, which will be allocated about 80 percent of the total budget.

"Our main concern is to deal with the impact of the economic crisis that led to student drop outs, as well as lifting the quality and welfare of the human resources such as salary for teachers," Yahya said.

The ministry also plans to give scholarships for a total of 1.7 million elementary school students, 1.6 million junior high school students and 495,000 high school students.

The operational fund assistance for state and private schools will be distributed among 103,000 elementary schools, 18,000 junior high schools and 9,000 high schools.

On the disbursement of funds from the national education ministry to the ministry of tourism for the directorate general of culture, Yahya further asserted that some of the related subjects such as language, literature and history would stay as part of education units.

"Actually it is hard to merge the culture and tourism in one ministry as tourism is more commercial. The two subjects have a broad distinction," Yahya added.


In a separate development, experts speaking at a media briefing marking the end of the National Education Convention here on Thursday stressed that the government would be committing a serious crime if it abandoned people's rights to get good education.

The low percentage of the state budget allocated to this field is one indication of the government's unwillingness to improve the education system, education experts remarked.

"It is indeed a crime," said Hamid Hasan a lecturer of Indonesian Education University (UPI).

"Therefore, we urged the government to increase the budget to 25 percent (of the state budget)," Hamid added.

Currently less than 10 percent of the state budget is allocated for education.

Earlier in the week educational expert H.A.R. Tilaar also warned that regional autonomy in the field of education must not undermine the forging of a sense of national identity which has become an important part of the national curriculum.

"Regional autonomy in education from provincial to district levels must be conducted within the frame of a national policy to avoid strong regional egoism which could later endanger the nation's unity," said Tilaar.

"A country which has no less than 300 tribes and ethnic groups should not go their own way when drafting education concepts. If such a kind of autonomy is run, our national integration will vanish," said Tilaar who is also director of the Management Institute of Jakarta State University.

Tilaar further told a session at the National Education Convention here that education programs in the regions must start with the empowerment of existing units such as the Parent-Teacher Associations (BP3) and the Education and Teaching (P&P) units at all administrative levels.

"Teacher and parent forums must be involved in the creation of education programs and not only act as money they usually do now. Parents who consider their children's education an investment must be actively involved".

"The P&P units in mayoralty/regency levels must be coordinated with the provincial education and teaching offices as ruled in the Regional Autonomy Law No. 22/1999 and Government Regulation No. 25/2000 on the implementation of the law," Tilaar said.

An interactive approach between community-based education from the grassroot level and the outline from the central government is needed so that people can have a better sense of belonging to the education system.

The Ministry of National Education should be the one in charge of determining the standard of education for elementary and higher levels (university/college) as well as nonformal education, he added.

Tilaar also stated his disagreement if decentralization in education was done only in terms of switching the bureaucratic system and infrastructure from the central government to the regions.

"It's the same as creating centralization in the region. What we must do is to dig out resources from the grass root level and at the same time share some of the authority with them."

The government should set the standard and provide supervision and guidance to the people, he said.

"Autonomy has to be implemented in a 'learning by doing' process," Tilaar added. (09/edt)