Indonesia: 8.1% education budget is unacceptable

EI strongly supports its Indonesian affiliate, PGRI's campaign to raise the country's education budget. In 2005, only 8.1% of its national budget was dedicated to education, far lower than that of neighbouring countries such as Thailand (27%) and Malaysia (20%).

EI reminds the Indonesian government that the country's constitution clearly states that 20% of the national budget should go to education. Furthermore, both EI and PGRI express concern that while remarkable progress has been made in the enrolment rate for basic education, net enrolment rates, especially in secondary education, are still quite low. Below is a copy of EI's letter in English. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- President of the Republic of Indonesia Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Office of the President Istana Merdeka Jakarta 10110 Republic of Indonesia Via Facsimile: +62 21 3452685/ 5268726/ 3457782 Brussels, 20 February 2006 Dear President Yudhoyono, Education International (EI), the global union federation of teachers and other education workers, which represents over 29 million members in 166 countries and territories, includes PGRI, the Teachers' Association of the Republic of Indonesia, among its affiliates. PGRI has informed us of their longstanding campaign to convince the government of Indonesia to increase the allocation of the national budget for education. According to PGRI, in 2005, the government of Indonesia spent 8.1% of the national budget on education. The latest data from UNESCO on Indonesia shows that in 2003, 9.8% of the total government spending was dedicated to education. This is a relatively low amount compared to other leading countries in the region: India spends 12% of its budget on education, China: 13%, Iran: 17%, the Philippines: 17%, Malaysia: 20%, Hong Kong: 23% and Thailand: 27%. Indonesia ranks lowest among its Asian neighbours in terms of its share of public education expenditure. According to the World Bank World Development Indicators, the average median spending for education are 12.9% in South Asia and 16.1% in East Asia Pacific. On average, countries of the OECD spent 11% of their budget on education: France and the United Kingdom spent 11%, Mexico: 24.3%. We understand that Indonesia's school system is large and is spread out over many islands which present many challenges. Indonesia has made remarkable progress in expanding enrolment in basic education, however, Education International and its affiliate PGRI are concerned that the net enrolment rates are still low, especially in secondary education. This prejudices achievement of the UN Millennium Goals for education. Education International therefore expresses its strong support to PGRI in demanding that the Indonesian government should allocate 20% of the national budget to education, as requested by the Indonesian constitution. Thank you for your consideration. Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary Cc: PGRI Chairman of the Indonesian Parliament Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia Minister for National Education Embassy of Indonesia in Brussels UNESCO