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[KOMPAS] Unbalanced Access and Quality * Policies that Favor the Poor are needed

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JAKARTA, KOMPAS — Even though access to formal schools continues to improve, the majority of poor students attend low-quality schools. Schools like this, among other things, are characterized by low national test scores and C accreditation. Policies are needed that are pro-poor.

The issue of unequal access to quality education was revealed by the results of a study entitled "Quality Education for Whom? Study on the Poor Community's Gaps in Access to Quality Education”. The study was carried out by the research institute for social change Article 33 in collaboration with the Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) Program.

The results were presented in a discussion in Jakarta, Tuesday (9/5), by the Executive Director of Article 33 Indonesia Santoso. Also present as discussions were the Deputy Chancellor of Paramadina University Totok Amin Soefijanto and SMERU Research Institute senior researcher Heni Kurniasih.

Santoso explained that the study was carried out in five regions, namely Makassar City (South Sulawesi), Malang City (East Java), Bogor City (West Java), Bantul Regency (Yogyakarta Special Region, and Bima Regency (West Nusa Tenggara). This study focused on examine poor communities' access to quality education.

"If poor people have received educational services, but the quality of the schools is low, the resulting output will not be good. "Graduates cannot compete in the job market so they are unable to get out of the poverty trap," explained Santoso.

For approximately 13 years (2000-2013), the elementary school net enrollment rate (APM) has consistently been above 90 percent. There are no significant differences between rich and poor groups. At the junior high school level, the NER rose from 60 percent to 70 percent, which shows the poor population rose from 45 percent to 65 percent. Meanwhile in high school, the NER rose from 40 percent to 53 percent, reflecting the increase in poverty from 20 percent to 30 percent.

“With the diversity in the quality of education provided, poor students tend to attend public and private schools that are of lower quality. "On the other hand, the rich are in quality schools," said Santoso.

According to Santoso, the results of the analysis show that the number of recipients of the Smart Indonesia Program (for poor students) tends to be more in schools that have low national test scores. It can be seen that in the city of Bogor, the largest number of PIP recipient students are in suburban and middle areas which correlates with lower National Examination scores when compared to PIP recipients in the city center.

In Malang City, the percentage of poor students in state schools with A accreditation is actually the lowest compared to those in private schools with A and B status. The largest number are in private schools with C accreditation.

According to Santoso, this condition is due to inequality in quality education. In selecting new students, generally refers to National Examination results and rankings. As a result, poor students in low-quality schools increasingly have no opportunities.

"There is an affirmation of providing quotas for poor students in superior schools. But this program is not socialized well. As a result, the 20 percent quota for poor students was not met.

Totok said that school quality must be improved and equalized. Crucial efforts are providing quality teachers, reforming the curriculum, improving the decentralization of education, including management-based schools, as well as ongoing commitment from the central and regional governments to a quality education system.

KSI representative Hans Antlov said that improving education must be carried out seriously from the basic education level. "We encourage the Indonesian government to make policies based on research and analysis. "This research can be input for improving policies that are pro-poor," said Hans.


Graph: Final Education of Households that Remain Poor

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