Editorial: Indonesia’s Education Not Making the Grade
The numbers are in and they’re not pretty. In its 2015 Education for All global monitoring report, the United Nations education agency, or Unesco, highlighted some sobering truths about just how far Indonesia stands today from being able to boast a decent education system.
The report, which compares the picture in 2012 (the most recent year for which figures were available) to 2000, shows that while Indonesia doubled the proportion of children receiving early childhood education, from 24 percent to 48 percent, it is still woefully short of Unesco’s target of 80 percent.
Even more shockingly, the number of primary school-aged children not in school has doubled to 1.336 million, dwarfing all other countries in Southeast Asia combined. It is also telling that the key metrics for those other nations, in particular Vietnam, have improved while Indonesia’s have for the most part gone backward.
A good education is arguably the most important service that a government can provide to its citizens. An informed, curious and knowledgeable populace is the bedrock on which great nations are founded, and it is a tragedy of epic proportions that Indonesia seems to be moving away from that ideal even as our peers — and economic rivals — in the region make great strides forward.
One constantly hears the refrain that the Indonesian workforce is uncompetitive, even in the Southeast Asian region, but this is entirely the fault of an education system that is outdated and failing the very people it is meant to empower.
Indonesia must invest more in education. We obviously won’t see any improvements in time for the Asean Economic Community, which goes into force at the end of this year, but it will at least be a first step in securing the country’s long-term competitiveness and standing.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe