Education International
Education International

Indonesia: Constitutional Court rules that public education budget must be increased

published 11 May 2007 updated 11 May 2007

Following pressure by EI affiliate the PGRI, the Indonesian government has been instructed by the constitutional court to fulfill its commitment to spend 20% of the national budget on education. This year’s allocation was only 11.8%.

Protests were held across the country on National Education Day (3rd May), following the announcement of the verdict. In Bandung, hundreds of students demonstrated in front of City Hall, demanding that the government allocate education its proper budget, and lower education fees which often prohibit children from low income families attending public schools.

This is the second consecutive year that the court has ruled in favour of the PGRI’s demand, and EI is supporting its affiliate in trying to persuade the government to fulfill its constitutional commitments. (See EI's letter to President Yudhoyono, below).


To: Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

President of the Republic of Indonesia

Brussels, 11 May 2007

Dear President Yudhoyono,

I write to you on behalf of Education International (EI), a Global Union Federation, to express EI's concern about the low allocation of the national budget for education.

For the second time, EI's affiliate in Indonesia, the Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI), has won a case in the Constitutional Court that should increase the public education budget from the present 11.8% to the constitutional allocation of 20%. The Constitutional Court ruled on 1st May 2007 that the current budgetary allocation does not meet the 1945 Constitutional requirement. The Government and the House of Representatives have been encouraged to make every effort to fulfil the Constitution demand.

EI recognizes and applauds the remarkable progress Indonesia has made in expanding enrolment in basic education. However, PGRI and EI are concerned that the net enrolment rates are still low in secondary education and that school fees are depriving many poor children of an education. This situation prejudices achievement of the UN Millennium Goals for education.

Increasing the national budget for education could improve the access to schooling of thousands of children who are currently not in schools. It would also have the important result of replacing underpaid, untrained, voluntary teachers by fully- trained, paid teachers.

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.

Education International expresses its strong support to PGRI in demanding that the Indonesian government allocate 20% of the national budget to education, as mandated by the Indonesian constitution.

Thank you for your consideration,

Fred van Leeuwen

General Secretary