Jakarta (ANTARA) - Teachers' association P2G has urged the government not to use education budgets, including the School Operational Assistance (BOS), to support the proposed free lunch program.

"P2G strongly disagrees with using BOS funds for the free lunch program," said Iman Zanatul Haeri, P2G's Head of Teacher Advocacy, in a statement on Sunday.

He emphasized that the program should not be funded using these resources, which are currently used to pay teachers' salaries.

Haeri emphasized that current state education budgets are insufficient to adequately address teachers' welfare and improve school facilities.

If the education allocation in the annual state budget is also used to fund the free food program, it will further hinder the quality of education and teachers' welfare, he remarked.

He cited data from Statistics Indonesia, reporting that 60.6 percent of elementary school buildings were damaged between 2021 and 2022, highlighting the need for the government to address this critical issue.

Haeri added that many elementary schools complain of insufficient BOS funds, with only Rp900,000 (around US$57) allocated per student per year, or roughly Rp2,830 per day.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, earlier stated that the free lunch program, proposed by a pair of presidential and vice presidential candidates, was still under discussion.

The pair, Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka, is currently leading the 2024 presidential election based on ongoing vote counting by the General Elections Commission (KPU).

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Translator: Astrid Faidlatul H, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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