Papua New Guinea can learn from the strong investment Indonesia makes in education.
The Ambassador of Indonesia to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands His Excellency Ronald JP Manik pointed this out at the Divine Word University’s main campus in Madang on Friday 10th February, 2017.
In his keynote address to mark the launch of the 2017 Academic Year for DWU, Ambassador Manik said the priority Indonesia has placed on education from the low level up to higher education is reflected in the strong budgetary commitment each year.
The Indonesian envoy highlighted the importance of education for development and improved well-being of people in countries like PNG and Indonesia and the rest of the world.
“It (education) also plays an increasingly important role in supporting a stronger and more globally competitive nation,” said Ambassador Manik.
“I believe that as two neighbor countries, it is essential that we focus on the potential for long term benefits through our educational engagements,” he said.
Ambassador Manik said the Indonesian Constitution and its education law passed in 2003 “emphasise that all Indonesian citizens have the right to education.”
“Hence, the Government (of Indonesia) has an obligation to finance basic education without charging fees.
“For that reason, since 2008, education has become a top priority of Indonesian government’s development agenda.
The Ambassador said education spending in Indonesia has increased significantly to as much as 20 percent of government expenditure annually, which was one of the biggest expenditure tickets.
“In 2016, the allocated budget for education itself was an equivalent to US$34 billion,” Ambassador Manik said.
He said tertiary education is an important component of Indonesia’s development and the government has invested in it accordingly.
Ambassador Manik said the Higher education sector in Indonesia has grown from only 10 institutions in 1950 to around 3200 last year (2016).
In line with the DWU theme for 2017 “Advancing quality collaborative e-learning accessible to all” Ambassador Manik spoke about the strides Indonesia has made on the e-learning front using the information and communication technologies (ICTs).
He said the use of ICTs to enhance teaching, learning and research is also an increasingly important part of the Indonesian education landscape.
“Technological advancements in the education landscape in Indonesia have brought a number of benefits to the educational institutions as well as corporate trainers.
“These include multi-media training, online tests and tutorials, online texts and audios, online content platform, virtual classroom tutoring, live video streaming with the teaching faculties and few more other facilities,” Ambassador Manik pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Ambassador invited PNG students in DWU and other institutions to apply to study in Indonesia by making use of the various partnership arrangements the two countries have.
“I would like to take this opportunity to invite PNG students to apply for degree and non-degree scholarships from the Indonesian government, which is managed online by the related ministries,” Ambassador Manik said.