Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Education budget to rise by 20 percent

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government will allocate Rp 48 trillion (some US$5.3 billion) to the education sector in 2008, a 20 percent increase over the figure for this year.

Bambang Djasminto, the Finance Ministry's director of the treasury, told representatives of the Indonesian Teachers' Association (PGRI) on Monday that the planned increase was in line with the government's determination to gradually raise the education budget to eventually account for 20 percent of overall public spending.

However, he acknowledged that the planned increase, still subject to approval from the House of Representatives, would only bring the proportion to just over 12 percent of total state spending.

About 1,500 members of the PGRI's East Java branch visited the House of Representatives, the Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry on Monday to urge the implementation of the constitutional requirement that 20 percent of the national budget be devoted to education.

Bambang said that the education budget for next year, unlike under the current and previous national budgets, would be exclusive of teachers' salaries and in-service training costs.

He pointed out that the budget allocation for education had increased each year from Rp 15.8 trillion in 2002 to Rp 20.54 trillion in 2003, Rp 27.1 trillion in 2005, and Rp 40 trillion in 2007.

East Java teachers' leader Djamaluddin said at the Finance Ministry that besides demanding the 20 percent share of the budget, the PGRI wanted the government to issue a decree to improve the working conditions of teachers.

The PGRI also urged the government to pay meals and special professional allowances to teachers so as to differentiate them from other civil servants. (02)

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