The Jakarta Post
Hundreds of students from various universities in Medan, North Sumatra, staged a rally on Wednesday to call on the government to stop what they call the commercialization of education.
The rally – coinciding with National Education Day, May 2 – proceeded smoothly and without any violent incidents amid a tight escort of security personnel.
Rally coordinator Ikhsan Simatupang said the commercialization of institutions of education and capitalist practices in the education sector had created difficulties for a growing number of Indonesian citizens to get a good education.
Ikhsan asserted that the national education sector was divided into several social structures. “Poor people can access some schools, but there are also education institutions that can be accessed only by rich and middle-class people. This form of educational discrimination must be abolished,” Ikhsan said on Wednesday.
He added that discriminatory practices in education reflected in the implementation of a single university tuition fee system under Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry Regulation No. 39/2017, which clearly displayed a social class categorization in education.
Ikhsan said the government should have been able to remove discrimination in education by realizing free, scientific, democratic and pro-people education.
“Education in Indonesia must be pro-people, not pro-rich,” he asserted, adding that the government should also reconsider its plan to open up opportunities for foreign lecturers at Indonesian universities. (ebf)