Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Smart Indonesia Program (PIP) is targeting 17,927,992 students this year with a budget of Rp9.66 trillion (US$624.17 million), secretary general of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Suharti, has said.

She made the statement during a hearing meeting with Commission X of the House of Representatives (DPR) here on Tuesday.

PIP is a government cash assistance program that targets students aged 6 to 21 years who come from poor families or families that are vulnerable to poverty. It seeks to support the students in paying their education costs.

To be eligible for the cash assistance, they need to be active students, have a Smart Indonesia Card, and be registered in the Main Education Data (Dapodik) and as beneficiaries on the ministry's official PIP website.

According to Suharti, the ministry has several data sources, including Integrated Social Welfare Data and Extreme Poverty Elimination Acceleration data, for determining whether a student can become a beneficiary or not.

"Beyond that, it is also possible for (accepting) proposals from schools, namely for children from poor and vulnerable families, which can be verified by the education office and suggestions from stakeholders," she informed.

Under the program, new student beneficiaries from elementary schools, special elementary schools, and elementary-level second-chance schools (package A) will get Rp450 thousand (around US$29.08) per year, while those in the last grade will get Rp225 thousand (US$14.54).

As for new student beneficiaries from junior high schools, special junior high schools, and second chance schools equivalent to junior high schools (package B) will receive Rp750 thousand (US$48.46) per year and those in the last grade will get Rp375 thousand (US$24.23).

Then, new student beneficiaries at the level of high school, vocational high school, special high school, and second-chance school equivalent to high school (package C) will receive Rp1 million (US$64.62) per year, and those in the last grade will be provided Rp500 thousand (US$32.31).

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Translator: Astrid Faidlatul, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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