Education Legal Entity Bill: a Wolf with a Sheep’s Skin

January, 17, 2009, The Jakarta Post

Knowledge has already become the primary industry, the industry that supplies the economy the essential and central resources of production (Peter F. Drucker, 1909)

The endorsement of the newly national education legal entity bill by the central government and the legislators from the House of the Representatives is immature. The bill itself is still contentious, controversial and marred by public protests. Public participation as well as stakeholders had been limited therefore the quality of the bill itself doesn’t meet the public need.

Just at the very day of the endorsement, students were able to enter the parliamentary room demanding the legislators to postpone the endorsement of the bill but their effort was of no use. The endorsement of this bill is a tragedy for our national education in this country.

Socialization and Reseptie in Complexu

The statement of the National Education Minister, Bambang Sudibyo, which pointed that those who oppose the endorsement of the newly bill on education do not understand the bill itself is (The Jakarta Post, Dec.23, 2008) an arrogant statement. The government as well as the legislators have their own monolithically interpretation on the bill.

It is important to review this bill seriously. Citizens of this country have to participate actively to address their concerns. There must be a way to do this; to depend only to the monolithic role of the legislators and the government for sure is not adequate. It is also important to note that generally, the members of the House as well as those in the government usually are member of the middle to upper classes in Indonesia ; no wonder that they often do not have a good and enough capability to really know what the rest of the people really need. Education legal entity bill sides with the rich not the poor.

One of the most important duty of a modern state throught its government is to make sure that all citizens – regardless her or his social, economic, race, religion, gender, ethnicity background, – have access to education for it is a human right. The education legal entity bill reduces the role of the government merely then to become facilitator or even owner of the capital. Yes, it says on the bill that the government is going to keep its financial support for the state schools. However, education again is not only a matter of budgeting but it firstly is a matter of human right. The existence of the state is to protect this fundamental right of the citizen; to make sure that the educational system and budget being implemented correctly.

What is then the function and responsibility of the central government in Jakarta for the people in this archipelago? It is to serve not only the rich but also the poor who become more in numbers now.

Article 9 point 4 of the bill puts the government similar with a profitable business. At this point, there are stipulations for merger and dissolution, financial management, strategy to prevent bankruptcy and how to save an educational entity out of it. This concept shows two simultaneous functions: first, academic and non academic managements, second, marketing.

In practice, the function of education is quite possible opposites against the interest of business. The main goal of the business is mainly to accumulate profits. Teachers become more powerless for they can be just hired and fired similar with those laborers at those factories. The local government then can turn out to be similar with business owner by having to invest its capital in education. By endorsing the bill, the government itself already surrendered the fate and the future of education in this country into the wrong hands and direction. Education then has to obey business demand and goal which is often against humanity.

Unlike the concepts implemented strictly for some state elite universities such as for UI, ITB, UGM through state legal entity bill (PT BHMN), the newly one education legal entity endorsed without a strict standardized educational quality. This therefore become like a wolf with a sheep’s skin for the people of Indonesia especially those unfortunates from the low-income families which are still become the majority of the citizen. Corruption is going to be difficult to be controlled with such this newly endorsed bill. It is also possible as we can read on Article 31 of this bill that public asset on education become private if an education legal entity puts it so in its bylaw (Article 32).

Judicial review

We do need to follow up Indonesian Independent Teacher Federation (FGII)’s demand to have a judicial review for this newly bill as an anticipation to make sure that education in this country is not going to be completely turning out to be merely business and profit oriented in practice. This bill is already against our national constitution, UUD 1945, Article 31 where citizens of Indonesia have rights for accessible and affordable education. The state itself has to distribute the 20% national budget for education fairly and clean of any corrupted-conduct.

It is a must for the now government of this republic to obey our national constitution not to surrender itself together with this nation for the short and can be catastrophic interest of business owners.

It is the responsibility and moral duty of the government to put das Sollen of education for all and das Sein for high quality of education simultaneously closer in implementation. The fundamental function of education is to humanize citizens through knowledge they can access and develop. By doing so, then culture of a nation can grow for the two must exist together. To have knowledge means to have dignity. That is why the state through the government must sides with the people concerns since this is a matter a nation’s dignity. Dignity as we know can’t be surrendered into the hand of limited business owners for as Marx Twain once says “education is what you must acquire without any interference from your schooling”.

~ by teukukemalfasya on January 17, 2009.

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