Regulation on free education needs to be supervised

Regulation on free education needs to be supervised

Cenderawasih Pos

A member of the Papuan Regional Assembly, Paskalis Kosay said that the Governor's move to provide education and health facilities free of charge is a very positive move and is welcomed by everyone. 'We reached agreement about this some time ago, during our discussions about the 2008 budget, he said, and it had the support of all the factions.

But he said that there should be no demands made to parents for money for any reason whatsoever because the provisional government has already allocated the funds to pay for this policy.

He said supervision of the policy was necessary so as to ensure that it is applied in all the primary and lower secondary schools.Supervision is needed not only at the schools but also over those in charge of allocating the money. He said that at the present stage , it was still in the nature of a pilot project; if that proceeds well, it will also be applied to the upper secondary schools.

Kosay said that the policy should have been applied when Special Autonomy was introduced [in 2001] which stipulates that 30% of the budget should be allocated to education. 'Plenty of money was made available for OTSUS which should have meant that education and health would be available free of charge [since then].' He said he hoped that in the coming 19 years of OTSUS, the provision of education would improve, along with better health facilities.

He said that all hospitals should also provide free services and should not be asking patients to pay for anything.

The Dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy at Cenderawasih University, Drs Festus Simbiak and the Executive Director of the Institute for Civil Engineering, Budi Sutyanto gave differing opinions about the policy, discussing in particular the budgetary arrangements and at which level of administration, the funds would be allocated.

It was essential, one of them said, that people know clearly how it will apply. Bodies such as the churches, the mosques , the sub-district chiefs should also be involved in keeping a watch so as to make sure that there is uniformity in people's understanding of the policy and the objectives are clear.

Several school children also expressed delight over the Governor's policy. One boy was quoted as saying that this would be a great help to his mother, knowing that she would no longer have to pay for his schooling or pay for his books. He and another child said that they only hoped that the money for the policy would not be swallowed up by corruption.

Abridged translation by Tapol