‘Education emergency’ stymies Indonesia’s growth

Apr 5, 2018 by

World’s fourth largest education system is systematically failing the nation’s 64 million students

By John McBeth –

It has been a decade since successive Indonesian governments began devoting 20% of the national budget to education. Yet two recent studies suggest such little progress has been made that the country’s education system has now become a major impediment to national development and economic growth.

For political analysts, it also raises the issue of whether poor education lies at the heart of the country’s faltering progress towards democratization and why an unquestioning populace-at-large is so easily led by self-interested politicians and their corporate allies.

President Joko Widodo and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati have both come to recognize that serious improvements must be made in the quality of government spending, a theme also picked up in the World Bank’s latest Quarterly Report on Indonesia.

“It’s a failure of design,” Indrawati, a former World Bank managing director, told an economic briefing in late March. “Twenty percent of the budget is for education, but if we are unable to design spending in a way that matters, then those resources will be wasted.”

Instead of throwing good money after bad, University of Melbourne political economist Andrew Rosser says a fundamental shift is required in the underlying political and social relationships that have characterized the political economy and shaped the evolution of education.

“In the absence of such a shift, interventions aimed at the improving the quality of education are likely to be stymied by political and social forces opposed to reform for ideological or material reasons,” he wrote in a recent Lowy Institute study.

Source: ‘Education emergency’ stymies Indonesia’s growth | Asia Times

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