"Our students are spread across Indonesia. We want them to be serious in their studies," Head of the Education Department at the West Papua Provincial Government Barnabas Dowansiba said in Manokwari Thursday. To ensure that the West Papuan students currently studying in Aceh are safe and secure, Dowansiba said he recently visited the province.
"There are some 23 West Papuan students in Aceh. They are the recipients of the central government's affirmative scholarship program," he said, adding that he asked them to focus on their studies, and not to be provoked by the situation in West Papua.
However, this year, the Education Department officials could not visit all cities where the students reside due to financial constraints, Dowansiba said.
Next year, budget allocation is expected for a meeting with the students and observing the condition of their dormitories to ensure they finish their studies and return home with their certificates.
He would work with the university authorities to enable the West Papua Education Department's authorities to receive a progress report on the students’ education, he said.
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Groups of Papuan students in Java Island have frequently staged rallies. On August 15, 2019, for instance, the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) staged a rally in Malang city, East Java.
Malang Deputy Mayor Sofyan Edi Jarwoko was caught in the spotlight after native Papuans in the provinces of Papua and West Papua accused him of threatening to send the Papuan students in Malang back home.
However, Jarwoko had not made any statement containing a threat to the Papuan students.
Instead, he had just responded to local journalists’ queries on whether he would opt to send the Papuan students home as had been done in 2016.
Jarwoko was quoted by Kompas TV as saying August 21 that he had never made any such statement.
He just said that returning the Papuan students was an option, but the impact of their rally needed to be assessed further before coming up with the option.
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