The Jakarta Post
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and University of Rhode Island (URI) president David M. Dooley have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on education cooperation in Rhode Island, the United States.
Speaking after meeting with Papuan students in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, Enembe said both sides had agreed on the funding of eight academic programs.
The MoU also agreed on scholarships totaling US$10,000 per academic year for Papuan students to undertake undergraduate and post-graduate programs at URI. Seven students have already been selected for the programs. They are currently finishing high school in Washington, Enembe said.
“The aim of sending Papuan students abroad is to improve their competitiveness in science and technology and to prepare them as human resources with good discipline and skills,” he said.
During the signing ceremony of the MoU on Friday, Dooley said his side was ready to support Papuans in various disciplines of science at his university. He also promised to provide special supervisory measures for Papuan students.
The university currently has around 17,000 students who come from all around the globe, including Papua. Papuan students are enrolled in 90 study programs available on campus.
“We have several leading study programs in America and in the world. Among them are marine and fishery sciences and pharmacy. Our school of marine and fishery sciences is one of the best five globally,” Dooley said.
This year, URI will follow up on the cooperation agreement by opening a school of marine and fishery sciences at Cenderawasih University (Uncen) in Jayapura, Papua, a plan that was first drawn up in 2017, according to Papua provincial special autonomy bureau head Aryoko Rumaropen.
“The governor has expressed his support. Hopefully the school will soon be established at Uncen,” Aryoko said.
Uncen rector Apolo Safanpo lauded the move, saying it would expand and improve existing marine and fishery science programs.
Uncen currently has a department of marine and fishery sciences that offers two programs: marine sciences and fishery sciences.
The head of Uncen’s department of marine and fishery sciences, John D. Kalor, said the authorities wished for a speedy completion of the project.
“Hopefully with support from the Papua provincial administration the school can be opened in the near future,” Kalor said.
Despite being rich in natural resources, West Papua and Papua, located on the country’s easternmost island on the border of Papua New Guinea, are among the most underdeveloped provinces in Indonesia, partly because of Java-centric development policies during the New Order regime. Papua was granted special autonomy status to manage the interests of indigenous Papuans and develop its human resources through quality education programs.