Twenty percent of local budget allocated to education

The Bali administration has agreed to allocate Rp 866.9 billion or 20.44 percent of a total Rp 4.39 trillion in its provincial budget to education in the 2014 fiscal year, said Governor Made Mangku Pastika. “We abide by the Constitution that stipulates a minimum of 20 percent of the annual budget be allocated to finance the education sector. Bali will allocate more than 20 percent in the coming fiscal year,” Pastika told journalists during a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the Indonesian Civil Servants Corps (Korpri) in Denpasar on Friday morning.

Law No. 20/2003 on national education requires the government to allocate 20 percent of its budget to education. “The education budget will go to several agencies, including those in the fields of culture and manpower, not only education,” the governor explained. Pastika added the education sector was the province’s top priority besides health, infrastructure and poverty eradication. “Improving education means reducing poverty on the island,” said Pastika. In 2014, Bali will continue to provide scholarships for needy and talented students coming from low-income families.

In 2013, the administration provided 104,587 scholarships valued at Rp 128.9 billion (US$10.7 million). The scholarships were distributed through scholarship cards. In 2013, the scholarships went to 56,245 elementary school students; 20,857 junior high school students; 10,389 senior high school students; and 17,096 vocational school students. Every elementary school student received Rp 620,000 per academic year, junior high school students received Rp 890,000 per person per academic year, senior school students received Rp 2 million per student, while vocational school students received Rp 3.2 million per person per academic year.

The scholarship card can be used for school fees, practical training, books and other educational costs. The Bali administration has also launched SMA Bali Mandara senior high school, an international-standard school for students from low-income families. Located on a 10-hectare plot of land in Kubutambahan district in Buleleng regency, north Bali, the school educates high-achieving students from across Bali for free. Following the success of SMA Bali Mandara, Pastika said the administration would also establish vocational senior high school (SMK) Bali Mandara in 2014.

The school would be built on the same site as SMA Bali Mandara in Buleleng.“We also have a plan to give scholarships to our students at SMA Bali Mandara to continue their studies at higher learning institutions, so they will have better lives in the future,” Pastika said. Pastika added the Bali administration was eager to succeed with the compulsory education system. Udayana University rector Ketut Suastika appreciated the administration’s efforts to increase the education budget.

“The education budget allocation must reach its priority targets and the disbursement of the budget must be tightly supervised,” the rector said. Suastika added the budget should be allocated to proper programs. “Improving the quality of elementary schools should be the top priority as it will be the most important part of our children’s future. Moreover, improving education infrastructure in rural areas should also be a priority,” he stressed.

source : bali daily

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