Education and Culture Minister, Mohammad Nuh, said that PMU program is one strategy for dealing with the growing population of productive age in Indonesia. Through the PMU program, the government will provide greater opportunities for every citizen to participate in a quality secondary education by facilitating the population aged 16-18 years in order to attend secondary education.
The program is currently under an implementation trial in the academic year 2012-2013 with a limited coverage and it will be accompanied with full budget support from the academic year of 2013-2014 onward.
PMU policy is believed to accelerate the increase in the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in senior high secondary schools, which has recently reached 78.7% to around 97% by 2020. Which, if the acceleration efforts were not made, achievements APK 97% is expected to be achieved by 2040. "We are determined to boost the GER," Nuh said at the launch.
Nuh mentioned: There are at least three reasons for the PMU to be implemented in 2013. First, the PMU is to take advantage of demographic dividend momentum of Indonesia to improve the quality of human resources (HR). Second, maintaining the continuity of the success of the program compulsory nine year basic education, given the compulsory education has a positive correlation with economic growth, competitiveness, health, and income.
"Third, support the achievement of Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI) and meet the challenges of global competition and the need for well-educated human resources," he said.
To accelerate the PMU program, starting the new academic year, in July 2013, government will distribute operational aid to school (BOS) Rp 1 million ($103) per year per student for all high school students, both public and private, and the aid is given directly to schools. "Government also provides aid to poor students (BSM) Rp 1 million per year per student to 1.7 million high school students from poor families and are given directly to the student," he said.
In addition, Nuh said, increase the infrastructure development for secondary education as new schools, new classrooms, rehabilitation of classrooms, and educational equipment. Since 2011 the government has set up the PMU program to build 416 new schools and 34,277 new classrooms, which is expected to accommodate approximately 1.3 million additional students.
Starting in 2014, the government programs to build new schools every year at least 500 units and 10 thousand new classrooms in order to accommodate an additional 400 thousand new students.
The main challenge is the provision of secondary education teachers. "The most crucial is the provision of vocational high school teachers. Until now, the number of teachers earning 39 thousand people are still lacking," said Director General for Secondary Education, Hamid Muhammad.
The government will also improve qualifications and competence as well as the welfare of teachers and education personnel, and prepare a good learning system to provide the best provision for students.
The Government of Republic of Indonesia, under the direction of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has deemed education as its top priority development agenda. The commitment is guaranteed by the Constitution stating that education is one of the human rights and government must allocate at least 20 percent of the total government budgets for education.
This is considered as one of the strongest commitments to education made by any country. The result of this commitment is reflected in a recent report from OECD in which it has been unveiled that Indonesia is among the few countries with significant improvement in both education equity and performance. Indonesia has made 7 percent improvement in education equity and 30 percent in education performance.
A recent Economist's report on "Investing in an Accelerating Asia?" shows that Indonesia is considered as the third most important investment destination. "It is our duty to make sure that what attracts them to invest in Indonesia is not because of our rich natural resources and our huge population as their captive market, but because of our excellent soft infrastructure," said Nuh.
R. Agung Setyo Wibowo