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Jakarta Post

Government to shift focus from infrastructure to education in Papua

  • Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, December 12, 2018   /   09:10 am
Government to shift focus from infrastructure to education in Papua Papuan children salute the Indonesian flag at a military headquarters in Keerom regency, Papua, on Aug. 13, days before the Indonesian Independent Day celebration. (Antara/Indrayadi Th)

Education will become another focus of the government’s development plans in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua after it managed to open up part of the isolated areas with its Trans-Papua flagship infrastructure project.

A territorial and equality expert at the National Development Planning Ministry, Oktorialdi, said on Tuesday that the ministry had prepared an education program to develop human resources in the provinces.

To improve development across the country, including in Papua, the government increased its education budget 13 percent to Rp 492 trillion (US$33.66 billion) in 2019, from Rp 435 trillion the previous year.

Oktorialdi revealed eight education goals for Papua: distribute more Indonesia Smart Cards (KIP), improve the quality of education in high schools, prepare assistance for teachers, increase the number of teachers, provide e-learning for teachers, include local content in education, eradicate illiteracy and establish boarding schools.

Infrastructure development in the last three years has been crucial to mobility in the province, which is three and a half times bigger than Java, he said, adding that education would help the two provinces continue their development.

Meanwhile, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) state apparatus director Velix Wanggai said infrastructure development would help improve the quality of life for people, but improving education in the province was no less important.

Velix suggested that boarding schools could offer a good education alternative in Papua, particularly because of its geographical condition.

“We know Papua is very large; people spend a lot of time traveling from one point to another,” he added.

The government’s programs to accelerate development in Papua, one of the country’s less developed regions, is based on Presidential Instruction No 9/2017 on the acceleration of social welfare development in Papua, which emphasizes infrastructure and also human resources development. (bbn)