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Indonesian schools in need of negotiating skills

| March 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Indonesia has put a new culture and elementary and secondary education minister, Anies Baswedan, in place to make sure that that Southeast Asia’s largest economy turns its dismal education rankings around.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 tests revealed that Indonesia’s students scored the secondlowest out of 65 countries.

While the Indonesian government has dedicated 20% of the national budget to the improvement of education, it is battling to win over the “hearts and minds” of communities, writes researcher Palmira Permata Bachtiar for The Conversation.

Bachtiar’s work in the Bulukumba regency in South Sulawesi and Sekadau, and in the Bengkayang regency in West Kalimantan, revealed that one in three schools visited is in conflict with communities, for several reasons.

“First, schools often lack proper land documentation. Second, communities abuse school property freely and third, schools face vandalism or theft.”

Where communities contest schools’ right to land, schools are often closed to students. Alternatively, many communities ignore schools and continue to use school property for their own purposes, ranging from grazing areas for animals or storage of tools and equipment.

Local and national government should also work together to document the land title problems, says Bachtiar, and to make sure that schools are properly demarcated and fenced.

Category: Autumn 2015

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