Yogyakarta – Scores of students from the Politics of the Poor-National Student League for Democracy (LMND-PRM) held a protest action at the University of Gajah Mada traffic circle on Tuesday November 17 urging the government to provide free education and review education policies that harm the people.
Action coordinator Kholis Annasir said that government policies such as the Education Legal Entity (BHP) Law, the National Education System (Sisdiknas) Law and others have resulted in the majority of the poor being unable enjoy prosperity because the cost of education is becoming increasingly out of reach.
“Yet the state has prioritised a minimum education budget of 20 percent from the state budget. But so far the available funds have never reached 10 percent. An allocation of 20 percent for education meanwhile is still too small compared with the funds used to pay off the foreign debt of around 35-40 percent annually from the state budget”, he said.
Annasir added that the education funds that actually reach the public are still very small due to administrative dedications and corruption. On the other hand, the country’s natural wealth – which should be a mainstay to fund education – is instead robed by foreign companies in the name of privatisation.
“Concretely the government has no intention or will to improve the education system in Indonesia. The government is instead busy bailing out companies hit by the impact of the [global financial] crisis. In the end the poor continue to be buried under defective legal regulations and are increasingly far from being prosperous,” he said.
In commemorating International Students Day, which falls today, in addition to calling for free education and rejecting the BHP law, the LMND-PRM also called for an end to the privatisation of education, creating democracy in campuses and schools, transparency in educational funding as well as improvements to facilities and the educational curriculum.
“For us, the solution to all of these problems is to replace the imperialist agent administration of SBY [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] and [Vice President] Boediono with an honest, united government of the poor,” he asserted. (Ran)
[Translated by James Balowski.]