Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government's education endowment fund, which is meant to develop the potential of the present and future young generations, has currently reached Rp81.7 trillion (around US$5.7 million), Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said.

“Currently we have Rp81.7 trillion (around US$5.7 million). If we add the budget for research, universities, and the cultural endowment fund, the total budget has reached up to Rp90 trillion (almost US$6.3 million)," she said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

One of the steps for developing the potential of the next generation is the granting of scholarships from the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), the minister said.

The budget used to provide the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education scholarships itself is in the education endowment fund, she added.

Initially, the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education was only meant to provide scholarships, most of which were awarded for pursuing university education abroad, while domestic universities were managed by the Education and Culture Ministry, she noted.

"Now, it has even been expanded for research, including in getting vaccines, and the Freedom to Learn program," she said.

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According to Indrawati, the scholarships come from state money obtained through tax receipts and non-tax state revenues.

She advised that recipients of the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education scholarship contribute to the government's efforts to advance Indonesia, such as by creating good achievements and reputations.

"You owe the country/state. The debt is not always paid in cash. Debt can be paid from achievements, reputation, and contributions to Indonesia," she reminded.

One of the contributions that can be made is helping transform Indonesia from a middle-income country to a high-income country, the minister said.

So far, the government has been trying to push Indonesia out of the middle-income trap by improving the quality of human resources through a reformation of education, social safety nets, and health, she added.

She also highlighted that the majority of Indonesian kids experience stunting, only receiving elementary or middle school education at best. Only 8.5 percent of children have the opportunity to go to universities or colleges, she added.

“That is that small, so very small. Reforming education, health, and social safety nets is a way to cut the grip of poverty,” she added.

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Translator: Astrid F H, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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