The budget for higher learning that is managed by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Learning decreases every year. In 2016 it amounted to Rp40 trillion and reduced to Rp39 trillion this year. The decrease urged the ministry to cut down on operational funding in order that it can allocate more scholarships for underpriviledged students.
“For year 2017 we would allocate as many as 80 thousands of scholarships from only 60 thousands in the previous year. We have to make this struggle that despite the decreased funding, the number of scholarships have to increase instead,” said Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Learning, Mohamad Nasir, in a meeting with representatives from Student Executive Body from 14 universities in Central Java and Yogyakarta on Monday (30/1) in Grha Sabha Pramana UGM.
In the meeting on the sidelines of National Meeting of Research, Technology and Higher Learning Ministry, the students presented evaluation and aspiration related to higher learning implementation. One issue is the decreasing scholarship quota that lowers the chance for underpriviledged students to get educational funding assistance.
Minister Nasir said the total number of scholarships distributed by the Research, Technology and Higher Learning Ministry remains 60 thousands per year. But along with the increasing number of universities that emerged, the allocations have also go to the new universities.
“The figure was 60 thousand scholarships for 82 universities. With the addition of new universities, the 60,000 has to be distributed to 122 universities, too, hence smaller allocations for each university,” he said.
According to the Minister, the budget rationalisation is the only way to sustain the scholarships. The Ministry can now increase the number of scholarships for 2017, and increase the amount of Bidikmisi scholarship from Rp600 thousand to Rp650 thousand each.
Currently, the government is prioritising funding primary and secondary education, so an increase in the budget for tertiary education is hard to meet. “The priority is for government to resolve primary and secondary funding issues,” he said.
Even so, the Research, Technology and Higher Learning Ministry will continue to manage the existing budget to advance the quality of Indonesian higher learning, for example through revitalisation of lab facilities to increase the country’s research and innovation.
The Minister further asked the students to always observe the policy that is implemented and support the government mission to achieve world quality university.