The Jakarta Post
The Tanoto Foundation and the Putera Sampoerna Foundation will not be eligible for a grant from a government teacher training program, Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim has said.
They will instead use a self-financing scheme to participate in the Mobilization Organization Program (POP), which is part of the ministry’s Freedom to Learn initiative aimed at improving the quality of Indonesia's teachers by involving communities and organizations.
"The ministry has made an agreement with the Tanoto Foundation and the Putera Sampoerna Foundation that they will participate in the program without using any funds from the state budget. They will fund their own efforts," Nadiem said in a written statement on Tuesday.
The Tanoto Foundation had chosen to be part of the self-financing scheme from the beginning, while the Putera Sampoerna Foundation wanted to use the matching-fund scheme.
“We suggested that the Putera Sampoerna Foundation use the self-financing scheme and they agreed,” Nadiem said.
Tanoto and Putera Sampoerna are among the selected 156 organizations out of 4,464 that registered for the POP.
Their involvement has outraged the Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) and the two-largest Muslim organizations in the country, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah.
They expressed their objections and withdrew from the program, saying that organizations with corporate backing should not be allowed to participate and get support from the state budget.
The three organizations were selected to participate in the “Elephant” category of the program, making them eligible for the largest grant of Rp 20 billion (US$1.3 million) to train teachers at 100 schools. Tanoto and Putera Sampoerna are also in the "Elephant" category.
In addition to emphasizing the latter two's participation in the self-financing scheme, Nadiem also apologized to the three organizations and promised to evaluate the POP.
However, they have yet to decide whether they would reenter.
Syaiful Huda, chairman of the House of Representatives Commission X overseeing education, said Nadiem had not informed lawmakers about financing schemes other than a fully funded scheme sourced from the state budget.
"If there had been no public criticism, maybe the program would still have only one scheme. But I think adding the two new schemes is a good idea," Syaiful said on Thursday.
Tanoto and Putera Sampoerna, he said, should be the supporting organizations taking part in the program using their own money.
"I think this is the best policy and it’s acceptable,” the National Awakening Party (PKB) politician said.
However, he added that the House would still summon Nadiem to provide an explanation as to why the House had never been told about the other two financing schemes for the program.
“There was only a single scheme, the fully funded one worth Rp 595 billion.”