Education in the Era of Special Autonomy for Papua, A Senator’s Note

goodmorningpapua.com – No one denies that when they hear the word Papua, the imagination that emerges is that of a rich and beautiful nature. Papua is also the largest area in Indonesia which has now officially been divided into 5 provinces.

However, I do not need to discuss much about these natural resources. This time, let me reawaken our eyes and conscience about what happened to the HR.

Since its ratification, the Papua Special Autonomy Law stipulates that 30% of the Special Autonomy Fund must be channeled to education. However, we need to know that in Papua, there are still regencies whose average length of schooling is around 5 years or equivalent to 5th grade of elementary school and some even last for 1 year or equivalent to 1st grade of elementary school.

Here are BPS data for 2020-2021; Papua Province: Jayawijaya Regency (5.51), Paniai (4.57), Puncak Jaya (3.62), Asmat (4.94), Yahukimo (4.26), Bintang Mountains (2.81), Tolikara ( 3.64), Mamberamo Raya (5.66), Nduga (1.13), Lanny Jaya (3.20), Central Mamberamo (3.15), Yalimo (2.79), Puncak (2.15), Dogiyai (4.93), Intan Jaya (2.84), Deiyai ​​(3.01). Meanwhile in West Papua, Tambrauw (5.24) and the Arfak Mountains (5.12).

Are we aware that there are still our brothers and sisters who, on average, only pass grade 1 in Nduga, grade 2 in Puncak Regency, 3rd and 4th grade elementary school in another district after 76 years of Indonesia’s independence? How many trillions of funds have flown, but for years without progress, without satisfying solutions from all of us?

Data obtained from the Director General of Fiscal Balance of the Ministry of Finance (DJPK of the Ministry of Finance) shows that education expenditures sourced from DOK receipts continue to increase from Rp. 414.69 billion in 2002 to Rp. 2.39 trillion in 2020 or an increase of Rp. 1.98 trillion. Thus, until 2020, the Papuan Provincial Government has spent Rp22.71 trillion for the provision of education services in Papua.

Nonethelss, we all know that the consequence of the low RLS in Papua is one of the factors causing the low quality of Human Resources (HR). Of course, for three dollars, poverty will also follow.

Thus, the lies that we display about the welfare of Papua, it seems that we must put an end to it. It is better to show a painful reality, than to display beauty but imagination only.

It’s time to take a closer look at the issue. For example, the problem of education in Papua is also due to the unequal distribution of teaching staff among schools in one region and among regions. Consequently, it raises the problem of teacher shortages, and the level of teacher absence from class is relatively high and above the national average (ACDP, 2014). The study on the use of special autonomy funds in the provinces of Papua and West Papua conducted by Siddik et al. (2018), also shows that the average ratio of students to elementary school teachers/equivalent is 1:35, and has exceeded the ideal ratio according to government regulations, which is 1:20.

The consequences of a teacher-to-student ratio that is too high, as well as a high rate of teacher absenteeism, can reduce the effectiveness of the learning process and the low quality of student learning outcomes. The limited quality of student learning outcomes causes school-age children in the household to not be able to take advantage of good quality education services, thereby reducing educational attainment.

Meanwhile, from the aspect of management, supervision and monitoring of the Central Government, which is limited, it limits the incentives of the Regional Government in Papua in determining spending on the provision of public goods in the education sector. This little note is only a small part of the problem of education in Papua.

In this month of entry for school children, have we heard the complaints of the public stating the high cost of PPDB (Education for New Students) in Papua? Hopefully, this record will reopen our eyes to the facts dealt with our brothers and sisters in Eastern Indonesia.

Author: Filep W (DPD RI member from West Papua)

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