The Chairman of the National Commission on Child Protection (KNPA) Arist Merdeka Sirait said on Tuesday in Jakarta that approximately 11.7 million of Indonesian children have not obtained proper education. The majority of these children are in hard to reach areas including remote indigenous or tribal communities.
School-age children who have not obtained proper educated are also commonly found in urban areas. This has cause the illiteracy rate in Indonesia to be pretty high, said Aris.
“In the remote indigenous communities, millions of children do not attend school because of the distance but also because these schools are untouched by the Ministry of Education programs. The number are scattered in remote areas, including in remote indigenous/ tribal communities. In addition to these areas, poor rural communities are also impacted as a result of unemployment, including those forced to live in the pockets of urban poverty in the region” said Aris.
For that Arist urges the government to be more serious in addressing these problems. The government should make the poor communities as the main target of educational development.
“The government should run the constitutional mandate on education discrimination. The basis of the constitution clearly stated that secondary education is part of the right of children to education. And for kids who have no access to education at all then it becomes a priority in the development of education. I think it is very simple and in accordance with constitutional mandates. Secondly, how to ensure that the 20 percent allocation of state budget for education is truly used for upper secondary education, especially for poor families” add Aris.
Meanwhile Ibnu Hamad, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Education said the government would increase scholarships for the poor families starting from the primary school level to university in order to break the chains of family poverty. The Government will also prioritize education in remote areas.
Ibnu Hamad said, “At the moment is about 67-70 percent and (communities) are being encouraged to increase the participation rates in early childhood education. The Ministry is well aware that the age of early childhood is a golden age that can not be allowed to fail.”
Assistant Deputy of Child Rights Protection Fulfillment from the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Ninin Irawaty said the Indonesia illiteracy rate continues to shrink. However, she did admit that there are still 10 provinces which have literacy rates of over 10 percent. Amongst them are Papua province, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and West Java. (VOA)