Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Papua government plans to build schools for children with disabilities in Jayapura, Keerom, and Sarmi districts in 2025 to enable those with special needs to get access to education, an official said.

So far, the province has just had seven schools that serve 875 students with disabilities in Jayapura City and the districts of Biak Numfor, Kepulauan Yapen, and Waropen, said Laorens Wantik, Papua Education Office Head for Special Education, on Sunday.

Due to the shortage of schools for children with disabilities, locally called "sekolah luar biasa" (SLB), many kids with special needs are not yet able to get educated, he said.

To this end, the Papua government has planned to build schools for children with disabilities in the three districts next year, while the district governments have provided land for the school construction, he said.

ANTARA noted that Indonesia's Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology recorded 2,329 SLBs across the country in 2023. Of the number, East Java had the most, with 417 schools.

Regarding national development in the Papua region, the Papua special autonomy law has paved the way for fund flows from the central government to the Papua and West Papua provincial governments since 2001.

Data from the Finance Ministry shows that during the implementation of the Papua special autonomy law, the central government disbursed Rp138.65 trillion (around US$8.63 billion) for the two provinces as special autonomy funds and additional funds for infrastructure projects.

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 (around US$43.71 billion), according to People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Bambang Soesatyo.

Despite this substantial central government funding, Papua still struggles to improve the quality of its human capital. This is evident in its score on Indonesia's 2020 Human Development Index, which was 60.44, significantly lower than the national average of 71.94, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS).

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Translator: Qadri P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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