Free primary school education not available in Papua

Free primary school education not available in Papua

Cenderawasih Pos
Translation by TAPOL

The budget for 2009 fails to make available funds to provide free compulsory education to the poorer inhabitants of West Papua. The Institute for Civil Society Strengthening, ICS, in Papua and the Indonesia Forum for Budgetary Transparency have drawn the same conclusion on this matter.

While the Law on National Education stipulates that 20 percent of the national budget should be allocated to education, in Papua, it only amounts to 4.7 percent. Moreover, the Special Autonomy Law of 2001 stipulates an even greater provision for education, namely 30 percent of the budget, whereas the actual amount is 24.18 percent.

In actual fact however, 84.51 percent of this goes to the payment of salaries, allowances and bonuses and office administration, which means that the actual amount available for the people's education is only 15.49 percent, for a total of Rp31.52 billion.

This means, according to Budi Setyanto of the ICS, that the promise of free education made by the governor of the province and the national government has not been kept. 'This contradicts the promise that nine years of education at primary and lower secondary school level for the children of the poorest Papuan families would be provided free of charge.'

Moreover, there has even been a cutback of funding for young Papuans from Rp 6.64 billion in 2008, down to Rp930 million for 2009. At the same time, the allocation for management of education has actually gone up by 230 percent (sic), most of which is for the bureaucracy in charge of education.

The ICS stressed that it is extremely important for the provincial administration to comply with the requirement under the Special Autonomy Law to allocate at the very least 30 percent of the budget to free education for the poorest groups in the territory.

Translation by TAPOL