Government and DPR slash education budget for 2019

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The Minister of Education and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

IO, Jakarta – The government, collab­orating with the House of Represen­tatives (DPR) have agreed to slash the 2019 budget for the Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) by Rp 2 trillion. The decision was made in a DPR Bud­getary Board Meeting for the 2019 state budget plan (RAPBN). Meeting leader Said Abdullah stated that the budget for the LPDP would only be Rp 18 trillion, down from a previous Rp 20 trillion.

“The decision is to decrease it by Rp 2 trillion, because that Rp 2 trillion will be used to fund education in the police, national military, and military academy,” he said in the DPR.

Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF) Suahasil Nazara stated that ed­ucation funding must make up 20% of the whole government spending budget. He requested that the next working committee meeting the DPR ensures the Rp 2 trillion funds would be used for education in the military academy. “If we may point this out, Rp 20 trillion is a part of the educa­tion funds, which must make up 20% of the budget, so ideally Rp 2 trillion should be allocated to education,” ex­plained Suahasil.

DPR Budgetary Board member from PDIP Daniel Lumban Tobing stat­ed that the allocation of the funds to the military and police academy were required, as the alumni were needed by the state. “I heard that the educa­tion funding for them was low, while LDPD’s is high, I hope I can represent the military and police academies,” said Daniel.

Overall, the budget for education in the 2019 state budget plan is Rp 487.9 trillion which is 7% higher compared to last year’s budget at Rp 434.6 tril­lion. LPDP is a government institute that must follow the financial rules of a Public Service Agency (BLU). The institute has three programs funded by the state budget: Indonesia Edu­cation Scholarships, Indonesia De­velopment Research, and Education Facility Rehabilitation. As of August 1, 2018, the LPDP has given 18,466 regular scholarship, 3,221 affirma­tion scholarships, produced 5,926 alumni and funded 124 research programs.

According to Muhadjir Effendy, the budget for the General Allocation Fund (DAU) and the Special Alloca­tion Fund (DAK) in the Ministry of Ed­ucation and Culture had declined by around Rp 4 trillion; this was a prob­lem. The Ministry of Education and Culture would have to accept the new funding allocations. “We will adjust as there is a decline in funding while the programs remain the same, there must be saving, there must be effi­ciency in every place,” said Muhadjir.

The government plans to give funding and scholarships from pre-school to high school, including their Islamic boarding school equivalents, and even up to those seeking doc­torates to all Indonesians, especially those who are underprivileged. The School Operational Assistance Bud­get (BOS) was intended to increase the participation of children in ele­mentary school to high school and madrasahs. In 2019, the government plans to give 20.1 million scholarships through the Smart Indonesia program and 471,800 university scholarships through the Mission Aim program.

Government spending in education for 2019 will also be directed towards the BOS program, which will cover 57 million students and increase the quality of government and non-gov­ernment teachers through profes­sional allowances and accelerated building and rehabilitation of schools. The education fund will also be used to build 1.407 laboratories for vocational high schools and help train and certify 3,000 college students, while strength­ening vocational programs by making them larger and more integrated into the Ministry while building classes and laboratories in 1,000 Islamic boarding schools. (Aldo)