A free school located in Depok bus terminal in West Java may soon face eviction to make way for a new shopping center.
Nurohim, founder of the school, known as Master (short for Masjid Terminal, or terminal mosque), said on Saturday that 2,000 square meters of a 6,000-square-meter plot of land currently used by the school, which provides education to underprivileged children, would be altered to become the Depok Wholesale Center (PGD).
“They will probably build an apartment and a hotel as well,” said Nurohim as quoted by kompas.com.
He said the 2,000-square-meter plot of land was owned by the Depok city administration, but he hoped the buildings of Master school would be left untouched since the location was perfect for students.
“The school’s location is right in the middle of the city, so transportation fares are low and it is quite near to the students’ houses,” he said.
The school management and the developer, he said, have discussed the issue but reached no agreement.
“The developer wanted to relocate the school, but we rejected the offer,” he said, adding that the new site would be too far from the current location.
Nurohim said he was still open to negotiation as long as the school was not evicted.
Master school provides free education at various levels — from non-formal Early Childhood Centers (PAUD), the Kejar Paket A or the equivalent to elementary school, Kejar Paket B or equivalent to junior high school and Kejar Paket C or equivalent to senior high school.
The school currently has almost 3,000 students coming from low-income families and street children. Its teachers include alumni and students of the University of Indonesia.
Established in the 2000s, the school relies on different sources of funding, from the government, private firms and individual donations.
Nurohim said the eviction plan would automatically affect the students’ education and that parents were worried their children would be unable to continue their studies.
He said he had not discussed the eviction plan with Depok Mayor Nur Mahmudi Ismail, believing it would be pointless.
Depok administration officials, he said, attended their previous meeting with the developer. “I assume the city administration has given authority to the developer,” Nurohim says.
Depok has a bad record in land conversion. The administration recently failed to get approval on a draft bylaw on spatial planning from the West Java provincial administration as it had converted four small lakes into residential areas.