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Education and Literacy in Indonesia

National education is rooted in Indonesian culture and is based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. It aims to enhance the people's intellectual life, dignity and values, create the Indonesian man and community to be faithful and devoted to the One and Only God, qualified and self-sufficient so that they can develop themselves and their neighborhood, and be able to fulfill national development needs and be responsible for the national development.

To achieve the targets and policies in national education, some main programs in Repelita VI have been implemented, covering: the development of: (1) primary education; (2) secondary education; (3) higher learning institutions; (4) extramural education, (5) services education; and (6) teachers and other personnel.

In the efforts to surmount the impact of the current economic crisis, the Government has distributed educational aid through the main programs especially in the form of scholarships to assist students who come from low income families to prevent drop outs. Besides, operational funds for schools and higher learning institutions ensure that all school children would be able to continue their studies. The Government has taken several drastic measures to reduce the impact of recession on education, including allocating special funds to help millions of needy students, teachers and schools. School children are even allowed to attend school with-out wearing their uniforms, as previously required.

In an effort to maintain the national Nine-Year Compulsory Education scheme, the Government has decided to provide annual scholarships worth Rp120,000 (US$9) each to four percent of the country's 29 million primary school pupils, and Rp240,000 for 16.1 percent of the 9.6 million junior high school students.

The Government will also annually allocate Rp2 million each for 69,300 primary schools to meet operational costs. This is 40 percent of government primary schools considered the most needy.

Furthermore, 30,391 junior high schools will each receive Rp4 million in aid. These make up 40 percent of all junior high schools in the country. The Government, however, is still unable to provide financial assistance to the country's five million senior high school students and 185,000 university students.

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PRIMARY EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Primary education in the first level of the education system is to provide sufficient basic capability for students to improve their life both as individual, as community member; and also to prepare them to continue their study at higher levels.

The program of primary education covers improving the standard of pre-school education, elementary school, lower secondary schools improvement and extraordinary school (SLB) development.

Pre-school education aims to help pupils in preparing their basic mental, intellectual, skill, and creativity in adjusting to the environment and to prepare their future growth. Pre-school education is carried out through nurseries and kindergartens for children under five and six, organized mostly by private foundations and non-government organizations including women's organizations. In fiscal year 1997/98, new state kindergartens, and 138 classrooms have been established, and 29 kindergartens had been rehabilitated.

Meanwhile, primary schools aim to give basic education to children aged between six to 12 or between seven to 13, so that they will be able to develop their life as an individual, community member, citizen, and as member of mankind; while preparing the children for education at a higher level in secondary schools.

To educate as many children as possible, since 1973 the Government have set up new primary school buildings through the Presidential Assistance program (Inpres SD). Consequently education participation figures rose from 112.4% in fiscal year 1996/97 to 113.6% in fiscal year 1997/98. However, about 5.1% children aged between 7 to 12 still can not attend school due to financial reasons and living in remote areas. In addition, many physically and mentally handicapped children are not able to attend school because there are not enough schools for them to prevent more drop outs and bad nutrients which can hold back a class of healthy children, the Government has developed a program for extra food for pupils. The Government also grants scholarships to intelligent students particularly those from low-income families. To improve the quality of primary education, more textbooks and visual aid instruments have also been distributed.

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LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION

Lower secondary school education or junior high schools provide basic education for children to expand and improve knowledge and skill obtained in primary schools. Repelita VI stresses the creation of greater access to lower secondary education as part of the Nine-Year Compulsory Education Program, and the education participation figures (APK) increased from 56.1% in fiscal year 1996/97 to 60.0% in 1997/98.

A package education program for physically and mentally handicapped children has also been designed by establishing Extra Ordinary Schools (SLB). Until fiscal year 1997/98, 1,148 SLB schools in Indonesia, consisting of 24 state-run SLBs, 959 private SLBs, and 165 integrated SLBs. To improve their quality of education in SLB, 490,000 of textbooks, 21,000 Braille books, 4,000 talking books, and 326,000 educational aid devices have been supplied.

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UPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION

Upper secondary education is directed into senior high schools (SMU) and senior vocational schools (SMK). Wider study opportunity had increased the education participation figures of upper secondary education level from 34.4% in 1996/97 to 36.3% in 1997/98.

To promote even distribution of study opportunities, senior high schools and vocational schools are provided with textbooks, reading material, laboratory equipment, art and sports equipment. Various research and training activities have also been provided.

Since Repelita V, senior high schools have been accommodating high potential students both in academic capability and skill. Until fiscal year 1997/98, 105 SMUs Plus have been established in 27 provinces initiated by the regional government and the public through many foundations.

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HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS

Higher learning institutions have been giving guidance and upgrading to prepare the students for the work market by equipping them with academic capability, professionalism, and leadership qualities needed for development. To meet those objectives, efforts have been made such as the expansion of study opportunity, and enhancement of quality, relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of the education program.

Consequently, education participation figures (APK) of higher learning institutions increased from 10.6% in fiscal year 1996/97 to 11.2% in fiscal year 1997/98. Study in science and technology including the restructuring of available study programs are enhanced, while the development of polytechnics is continued and improved to meet the demand for professional workers especially in the field of business and industry. Until the fourth year of Repelita VI, 26 poly-technical school had been established, consisting of six agricultural and 20 engineering fields of which 12 are running business programs.

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EXTRAMURAL EDUCATION

The program of extramural education during Repelita VI stresses the improvement of knowledge, attitude, and basic skills of the community including children who are not able to attend formal schooling.

The activity to eradicate illiteracy in 1997/98 reached one million people and during four years of Repelita VI four million people were involved. Since fiscal year 1995/96 the Indonesian Armed Forces have also been active in the elimination of illiteracy.

"Package A" and "Package B" programs on eradication of illiteracy and to support the Nine-Year Compulsory Education program were attended by 43,000 and 95,500 people respectively in 1997/98, and during four years of Repelita VI they were followed by 370,000 and 441,300 people respectively.

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Information provided by the Directorate of Foreign Information Services, Department of Information, Republic of Indonesia.

 


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