YOGYAKARTA (KU) – The US will improve relationships in education with Indonesia, because the number of Indonesian students in the USA has decreased during the last 10 years from the previous 15 thousand to 7500 students.
Thus was said by US Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel in a general lecture at the UGM Senate Hall on Thursday (23/9). The lecture was his first official remarks after his appointment as US Ambassador to Indonesia, replacing Mr. Cameron Hume.
Marciel said that the US Government would earmark funds amounting to US$165 million for Indonesia specially to enhance education cooperation. The funds that will be spent for a term of 5 years were already implemented 18 months ago. “The funds will be used for student exchange and scholarship,” he said.
To increase the number of student exchange, the US Government plans to work with 8 leading universities in Indonesia to cooperate with US universities in order to improve Indonesian higher learning standard as equal as those in the US. “We want the students here to have the same quality as that in the US,” he said.
He mentioned that the number of US students in Indonesia is less than 100 while previously it reached to between 300-400.
To reporters, Cultural Attache of the US Embassy, Frank J. Whitaker, said that the decreased number of Indonesian students in the USA had been caused by economic crisis that hit Indonesia in 1997. similar condition was felt also by Malaysia, Thailand and some other Asian countries. In addition, the decrease was caused by the tighter selection process at US universities. "Whilst maintaining the quality of selection process, we would try to sort this problem in the future,” he said.
He mentioned that there are 15 millions of seats being provided for higher learning across the USA with 4% being allocated for foreign students. “Around 700 thousands of seats are reserved for foreign students,” he stated.
The US Embassy release states that before his appointment as Ambassador, Scot Marciel was Deputy Assistant to US Foreign Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Bureau responsible for relations with Southeast Asia, also acting as US Ambassador to ASEAN. Marciel is senior career diplomat at US Foreign Office; he joined it in 1985. He was Director for Southeast Asia, Director for Southeast Asia and Mainland Affairs and Director for Southeast Europe. Marciel was raised in Fremont, California. He is a graduate from University of California at Davis and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
The Rector of UGM, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M.Eng., Ph.D., hoped that Ambassador Marciel would serve well as the new US Ambassador to Indonesia. One of the tasks is that he would be able to increase the number of Indonesian students in the US. “At the same time, I hope he is able to increase the number of US students in Indonesia,” he said.