YOGYAKARTA – The implementation of autonomy in higher learning institution in Indonesia is a must to catch up with other national universities at the world level. The presence of General Services Board of Higher Learning Institutions (BLU) is seen by observers as a backward step because those institutions serve as an executor of government policy in terms of administration.
Thus emerged in a national symposium entitled Controversy of State Universities’ Status and the Future of Academic Autonomy in the Sukadji Ranuwihardjo Auditorium of Magister Management of Faculty of Economics and Business, UGM, Saturday (6/4). Speakers are Rector of UGM, Prof. Dr. Pratikno, M.Soc.Sc., former Higher Learning Director General, Satrio Sumantri Brojonegoro, Vice Rector for Information Systems and Finance, Dr. Didi Achjari, S.E., Akt., and sociologist, Prof. Dr. Heru Nugroho.
Pratikno said, Indonesian higher learning required revolutionary policy to accelerate quality achievement in order that universities level with other more advanced foreign universities. "The government should encourage universities that are going international, don’t deal with administration only. Don’t let rectors become heads of government’s working unit,” said Pratikno.
University debureaucratisation, according to Pratikno, is very much required for them to improve performance in education and research by prioritising transparancy, participation and response to problems of the state. “We’re developing democratic governance so that our state is not too bureaucratic, but what happened at universities is the contrary,” he added.
Satrio Sumantri Brojonegoro said the concept of BLU showed that the government is not yet ready to leave the syndrom of ‘the government is always right’, so power became dominant,” he revealed.
The condition showed the low position of higher learning institutions in the government’s structure whilst the key to university progress lies in the creativity of lecturers and students. “It is not obedience that is required but creativity,” he said.
Satrio said further that the government should encourage university to carry out independence in higher learning management by granting autonomy.
“All universities have to be autonomous, it’s the government duty to encourage them to be autonomous, not only assess them,” he said.
Satrio said some campuses in Asia such as in Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and China, have progressed rapidly as compared to their counterparts in Indonesia as they have implemented wide ranging autonomy. “We’re on the opposite side. Formerly, Thailand and Malaysia learned autonomy from Indonesia. Now, it should have been us who are more autonomous and improving,” he explained.
According to Satrio, government more encouraged PT BHMN (state owned legal entities) that have implemented autonomy to increase their roles internationally while assisting other universities to implement autonomy. Satrio said the government has to allocate more Research and Development funding, minimally 2-3 percent of total Gross Domestic Brutto (GDP). “Because the R&D funding is very small, the government should increase it by 2% of the GDP as university progress lies in Reseach and Development,” he said.
Didi Achjari said campus autonomy was much required to encourage lecturers to increase strategic research to achieve state independence. Previously, through autonomy, UGM found it easier in producing financial, human resource and logistics reporting. “Under the BLU, administrative costs are much bigger,” he said.