Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received participants of an Indonesian Private Universities Association (APTISI) national congress at the State Palace here on Tuesday.

On the occasion the president was accompanied by Vice President Boediono, National Education Minister Muhammad Nuh, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto, National Defense Forces (TNI) Chief Admiral Agus Suhartono, Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, Coordinating Minister for Economy Hatta Rajasa, and Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam.

The national education minister in his address said APTISI comprised 2,980 institutes of higher learning that had a total of 2.8 million students.

Muhammad Nuh said one of the challenges being faced by the association was to make universities engines of prosperity and mold the students` character.

The minister said the universities through the so-called Tri Dharma doctrine , could help make a success of government programs to improve people`s welfare including improvement of the national economy.

Meanwhile, APTISI chairman Prof Suharyadi said the 4th APTISI national congress was participated in by 530 delegtions.

He said over the next four years APTISI would continue to improve its competitiveness in facing the human resources challenge.

Suharyadi said the association had made a number of proposals to the president, among others, the improvement of both state and private universities` quality, and tax relief for private universities.

"We also ask the government to help improve the capability of lecturers for the S2 and S3 study programs," Suharyadi said, adding APTISI was sure that with assistance from the government, the quality of education could be improved.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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