Monday, December 22, 2008

Educational Legal Entity

For many years, Higher Educational Institutes managed by the State e.g Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Gajah Mada, I.T.B, have been the targets of young people who pursue higher educational studies. They are well known for their quality and the fees are lower than private owned universities. This is obvious because they enjoyed state’s subsidy. I remember a colleague told me that when he studied Medical at Universitas Gajah Mada in 1970, he only paid an annual administrative fee of Rp 60.000,-

But that perception will end soon after the Parliament (DPR) passed the new Educational Legal Entity Law last Wednesday. Under this Law, all Educational Institutions should be managed by a new kind of organization called the Educational Legal Entity (BHP), which will have full autonomy to manage the university/institute.
For universities/institutes that are managed by the state, this means that they will not receive anymore subsidy from the state, therefore in order to maintain their quality, they have to charge their students with higher fees. Even now, the fees are already very high. For instance, my cousin paid Rp 8 mio so that his daughter can be accepted at a kindergarten, and a friend paid more than Rp 25 mio for his son to be accepted at a Senior High School. One can imagine how much the cost would be to study at the university after the government lifts the subsidy.
Considering this fact, students in many cities of Indonesia e.g Jakarta, Jogyakarta, Makasar have been demonstrating against the said Law every day, as reported by the mass media.

Due to the current global economic crisis, it is understandable why the government want to reduce its burden by stop giving subsidies to educational institutions. However, considering that education is very important for a developing nation like ours, therefore it would be better if the subsidy is not stopped totally, but step by step. And if the condition improves, the subsidy should be resumed.


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