We have gradually paid the tuition fees and living costs for our students in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Papua Human Resources Development Agency (BPSDM) has paid the tuition fees and living costs of 355 Papuan students currently pursuing higher education at universities in five countries, an official has said.

The total reserved funds used for the late payment of tuition fees and living costs reached Rp300 billion, the agency's head, Aryoko A.F. Rumaropen, said in a press statement on Wednesday.

Of the total students, 204 are studying at universities in the United States, 68 are pursuing higher education in Australia, 59 in New Zealand, 17 in Canada, and 7 in Japan, he informed.

The Papuan students have not only taken up undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs, but also vocational and professional programs, he added.

"We have gradually paid the tuition fees and living costs for our students in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia," he said.

Rumaropen further said that all students' tuition fees and living costs from January to April 2022 is paid this week. He then urged the students to send their study progress reports on a regular basis to the agency.

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The reports are important because the authorities use them as a basis for paying their tuition fees and living costs, he explained.

ANTARA has reported earlier about how the Indonesian government has consistently demonstrated its strong commitment to boosting the development of the country's eastern regions, including Papua and West Papua provinces.

The Papua special autonomy law has paved the way for fund flows from the central government to Papua and West Papua since 2001.

The Finance Ministry's data has indicated that during the implementation of the Papua special autonomy law, the government disbursed Rp138.65 trillion for Papua and West Papua as special autonomy funds and additional funds for infrastructure projects.

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Meanwhile, the total regional transfer and village funds that the government distributed in the two provinces between 2002 and 2021 have been recorded at Rp702.3 trillion, according to People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Bambang Soesatyo.

Despite central funding, the two provinces are still struggling to improve the quality of their human capital, as evidenced by their scores on Indonesia's 2020 Human Development Index, which were below the national average of 71.94.

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According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Papua and West Papua scored 60.44 and 65.09, respectively, on the index. Their scores were lower than Aceh province, which chalked up 71.94.

BPS data released in February this year further showed that the poverty rates in Papua and West Papua were recorded at 26.8 percent and 21.7 percent, respectively.

Development outcomes also remained inequitable for native Papuan communities as was evident from their low income level and lack of access to education and health services, it said.

In the midst of this challenging reality, the government has hinted at its intention to extend the allocation of special autonomy funds for Papua and West Papua by another two decades to accelerate efforts to close the development gap and usher prosperity for all communities in the region. (INE)


Translator: Qadri Pratiwi, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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