Indonesia Education System only for the Rich!

Our Education only for the Rich!

01.00 pm November 23, 2005: Question & Answer with Indonesian expats (2)

Contrary to the first question which applauded the current government “success” and praising anything Indonesia, the second question forwarded by Tylla Subijantoro, a law student of Delhi University, criticised strongly the Indonesian establishment ignorance on education for the poor.

He further compared the higher educational system between Universitas Indonesia (UI) her former campus and Delhi University (DU) her current campus to make her points clear:

(1) Fee: India is among the cheapest in terms of educational fee. Indian students need to pay only around RS. 5,300(about Rp 1,600,000) for post-graduate. For applied sciences fee see here. Compare this to the fee for UI (Universitas Indonesia) where, you have to pay around Rp. 50 million (USD 5,000) for post-graduate in social sciences. In other words, even if your dad is tukang becak (three wheeler puller), he still can afford to send you to the best university in India!

(2) Quality: The more expensive the clothes, the better the quality is not applied to the case of education between India and Indonesia. UI is her almamater, and as she said to the president, is the best university (beside UGM) in Indonesia. Yet, compared to Delhi University, where she’s doing her M.A., UI almost nothing, for several reasons including

(a) the quality of teaching staffs [many of her lectures and her professors are also visiting professors or distinguished scholars in some prominent and high-profile world universities like Oxford, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc];

(b) Accessibility of the teachers. Even though the professors are highly qualified from the world-standard point of view, they are all very accessible. So long they are at the campus, you can make a very long discussion with them. No busy excuses are made, like in the case to our hyper-busy lectureres who hardly have time for their students;

(c) Self-dependent of teaching staffs. The campus itself can produce highly qualified professors who can teach everywhere in the world; in UI you can only find those kind of teachers only if they’ve done their M.A. or Ph.D abroad, like Prof Juwono Sudarsono who’d been a visiting professor in an American University, himself graduated from the US; or Prof Arief Budiman, a professor in an Australian University because he’s earned his Ph.D from the US, etc.

In the end, Tylla made her last punches: (1) where the hell is the commitment of the current regime to make education more accessible for the poor if it even cant fulfil 20% budget allocation for education as per the mandate of the Constitution?; (2) How dare the current governments raise the BBM (petrol, gas, etc) price, and at the same time, claim itself as the most successful regime in many fields?

In responding to the strong criticism, President SBY looked a bit uncomfortable. His answer dont worth to be mentioned here as it’s full of apologies and excuses remind me of Suharto’s or Harmoko’s way.

That made the dynamic Tylla looks angry and impatient and express her unhappiness by talking to her friend sitting behind her. As a result, President SBY almost shouting in anger warned her: “Anda tadi bicara saya dengarkan, sekarang dengarkan ketika saya bicara!” (I listen to whatever you’ve said. Now, it’s your turn to listen to what I’m saying!)

The audience kept quite. But after the proceeding was over, some friend of mine whispered at me: Mr. SBY was an easily angry personality (suka ngambek). He’s once got angry to a Kompas journalist, and banned the journalist from coming to the Istana Merdeka (Merdeka palace, presidential office).

When President SBY and delegation walked towards lunch room, his spokesperson Mr. Andi Malarangeng proudly told us, “UGM (Gajahmada University) is ranked no. 200 in Asia”. We all smile. I myself smiled, because I wanted to be a “polite” host. I dont have a heart to tell Mr. Mallarangeng that Delhi University is ranked no. 3 (three) in Asia! But, Tylla again “barked” with her last outburst! And Mr. Mallarangeng smile in amazement by saying “oh, really?” Come on, Andi! Dont forget to read more even if you are very busy nowadays!