Universities must promote pluralism, help Papuan students feel at home

Universities must promote pluralism, help Papuan students feel at home

Papuan students study at State-run Padang university (UNP) and State Padang Polytechnic College in West Sumatra . (Antara/ist)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Institute for Research, Education, and Information on Economy and Social Affairs (LP3ES) has urged universities in Indonesia to play an active role in ensuring Papua remains a part of the country by promoting pluralism in their campus communities.


To this end, the universities could support the nation's collective efforts to care for Papua by consistently accommodating Papuans within their respective campus communities, LP3ES head Didik J.Rachbini said.


Speaking at a webinar on the economic and political research on military placement in Papua here on Monday, he argued that pluralism is necessary for campus communities in Papua and outside Papua.


In this regard, Papuan students need to be admitted at various universities, including the Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java, and the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Rachbini argued.

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The sense of diversity in Indonesia's university campuses is not merely reflected by the presence of Papuan students but also by the existence of lecturers from various regions, he said.


By doing so, the national unity in diversity could be created, he said, adding that students admitted at universities outside their regions could also be prevented from nurturing thoughts of supporting insurgency.


According to Rachbini, students can be prevented from falling into the grip of the separatist movement if they are made to feel they are a part of a single nation at their respective university campuses.

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Therefore, education can play an important role in safeguarding Indonesia's territorial integrity besides economic and military policies, he argued.


He also highlighted the importance of building collective awareness among Indonesians that disunity would trigger a humanitarian disaster, as shown by the experiences of North and South Korea, and North and South Vietnam.


For resolving the Papua issue, he suggested that Indonesia focus on its own solution through the role of education instead of relying on solutions offered or reflected by cases in other countries.


The contributions of Indonesian universities' research projects to finding solutions to Papua's problems remain insignificant, Rachbini added.

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