Education system needs reform, but schooling cannot be free: Education Minister

Tempo – July 6, 2017
Culture and Eduation Minister Muhadjir Effendy (Tempo)
Culture and Eduation Minister Muhadjir Effendy (Tempo)

Danang Firmanto, Jakarta – Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy has a way to change the state of the national education system. Effendy claims that after being a minister for around one year he now has a method to improve the education sector.

“I began from a sensitive point, a determination”, he said in East Jakarta on Thursday July 6. Effendy believes that change must begin with school committees, namely changing the role of school committees that must be independent.

Effendy admits that in some parts of the country there are still school principals that are teaching students. He hopes that this can change in the future. School principals, he said, must focus on thinking about how to develop schools and do not need to teach.

In addition to this, Effendy believes that education cannot be free. He gave examples of schools in the Netherlands and Germany that are paid. “Essentially there are no free schools, its only free for those who are poor, if they need assistance”, he said.

Effendy is doubtful if a child of a regent would ask to be exempted from paying school fees. He said that he has discussed the matter of free schooling with President Joko Widodo and according to Effendy, free schooling has the potential to damage the education system.

He argues that free schooling has the potential cause a lack of serious management. Thus he insists that free schooling is only valid for people who are less well off.

Effendy is aware that education in Indonesia has still not moved forward and has a commitment to change this. “Certainly this needs to change”. And this correction, he said, must be simultaneous.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Benahi Pendidikan, Menteri Muhadjir: Sekolah Tak Boleh Gratis.]