Jabartoday.com-Jakarta. The reallocation of education funds to the free lunch program is a form of betrayal of the constitution. This program is also seen as potentially sabotaging all plans for education oriented towards the development of Indonesia’s human resources. If this program is implemented, the future of the nation will become even bleaker and far from the hope of Indonesia becoming an advanced and dignified nation. This was stated by the Advisory Board of the National Movement for Nusantara Awakening (Timnas AMIN), Fahrus Zaman Fadhly, in response to the statement made by the Secretary-General of the Prabowo-Gibran National Campaign Team (TKN), Nusron Wahid, regarding the reallocation of education budget amounting to Rp 660 trillion in 2024 to the free lunch and milk program.
“If the budget for the free lunch program is taken from 20 percent of the education budget, the human development index is guaranteed to plummet. The average length of schooling, which is the main component of the education index, will dramatically decrease. The quality and well-being of teachers are neglected. The construction of facilities and classrooms is postponed. Teacher training as an effort to improve the quality of education is eliminated. Various types of scholarships such as KIP, LPDP, BPI, and others will be minimal, even potentially disappearing. Is this what they want?” he added.
He considered the idea of reallocating education funds to be very dangerous. If education budgets are diverted, the resources that should be used to improve the quality of education, such as improving school facilities, teacher training, or curriculum development, will undoubtedly be disrupted. “This can result in a decline in the quality of education and have a negative impact on the quality of graduates. Similarly, access to basic, secondary, and higher education for the people will be limited, even significantly reduced. I think this idea is not aimed at bringing about change and improvement but, on the contrary, will destroy the main pillars of our nation’s future transformation,” he emphasized.
Fahrus Zaman Fadhly revealed that the constitutional provision mandating 20 percent of the education budget was the result of a long struggle by PGRI, LPTK higher education institutions, teachers, observers, experts, and education practitioners, as well as members of parliament, especially the House of Representatives’ Commission X, who cared about the fate of the nation’s children.
“This idea clearly violates the constitution and is completely unreasonable. This program only pursues false populism and public deception. We need to remember that this nation was founded in 1945 with noble ideals, namely the enlightenment of the nation’s life. If education funds are significantly reduced, the noble ideals of enlightening the nation as stated in the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution will not be realized,” he stressed.
He vehemently rejected the unreasonable and unconstitutional idea. He argued that the idea was not based on the idea of change but was merely for the sake of pursuing power. “We are deeply concerned about this idea. It is a reflection that our political elites are trapped in populism and the pursuit of power, far from their statehood duties. The public should be suspicious of this program because it is unreasonable and tends to disregard the importance of education in the development of a nation’s civilization,” said Fahrus Zaman Fadhly.
The Timnas AMIN acknowledged that there had been many allocations of education funds that were not directly oriented towards improving access, quality, and equity in education. “This is because policy makers and key education stakeholders do not understand education issues. This has resulted in the allocation of education funds not being prioritized for important programs that can directly address various education problems. The programs that have been developed are ad hoc and project-based, resulting in wasteful and inefficient budgeting.”
Fahrus Zaman Fadhly emphasized that adequate education funding was the key to providing fair and equal access to education for all citizens, regardless of their economic, social, or geographic backgrounds. Adequate funding enables the provision of adequate educational facilities in various regions, including rural or remote areas.
“Adequate education funding allows for the development of relevant curricula, high-quality teacher training, the use of educational technology, and adequate learning resources. All of these contribute to the improvement of the quality of education. Education is an investment in the development of a nation’s human resources. Sufficient education funding helps create a more skilled and educated workforce, which in turn can support economic growth and social development,” he explained.
He added that education supported by well-directed funding helped improve critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities of individuals, which are essential for social and economic progress. Budget allocation also supports research and innovation in education. This is important to continuously update teaching methods and curricula, as well as keep up with technological advancements,” he said.
He concluded by stating that the allocation of adequate and prudent funds for education is an investment in a country’s future, both in terms of economic growth and social development. Therefore, many governments and international organizations are committed to increasing education spending to ensure access, quality, and equity in education. (than)