Education is an essential staple in ensuring equitable development in Indonesia, especially in the eastern part of the country, including West Papua. A development program is not merely concerning infrastructure—although it’s no less important—but also about human resources that need to be elevated as per the necessities and context of the West Papuans.
Bolstering the quality of education for Papuan children means opening up a door of opportunity to explore their competence and potential further. In this way, they can respond positively to development programs and even participate in accelerating the said programs for the sake of their land.
Both the central and provincial governments continue to seek programs to enhance the human resources in the land of Papua. Among other things, by providing many scholarships to study in Indonesian prestigious universities and colleges. One of the two affirmative scholarship programs currently being promoted by the government is ADik and ADEM.
ADik: Affirmation Program for West Papua
Higher Education Affirmation (ADik) scholarship is an educational program developed in 2012 based on the government’s concern for Papuan and West Papuan students. This program is aimed to give opportunities for those with difficulty accessing higher education.
Students who pass the university admissions are eligible for this scholarship program. In addition, those who pass the process of ADik selection, be it in an academic or non-academic manner, are also eligible to take advantage of this program. Especially for Papuan students, they are advised to select higher-educational institutions outside of Papua’s land.
Regarding the scheme of this program, students from West Papua and Papua will be fully funded by the government. These include college tuition, living expense assistance, and transportation costs. Those who enroll for undergraduate and level 4 Diploma are allowed to study for a maximum of eight semesters and six semesters for level 3 Diploma.
ADEM for West Papuan Middle Schoolers
In addition to the ADik scholarship, intended for high school students, has issued a Secondary Education Affirmation (ADEM) program for Papuan children. The sons and daughters of Papua who graduate from middle schools will be given opportunities to pursue secondary education high school in six Java and Bali provinces.
As of March 2021, more than 1,200 Papuan students enthusiastically participated in ADEM scholarship admission. The new academic year is recorded around 350 children from Papua and 150 students from West Papua who successfully passed the entire scholarship selection process.
This affirmation program collaborates both central and provincial governments to increase the quality, affordability, conviction, and equity of obtaining better education for the Papuan middle school-aged students who are primarily constrained by economic and geographical barriers.
The Importance of ADik and ADEM Programs
Prior to being placed in respective schools and universities, either ADik or ADEM scholarship receivers are equipped with programs to improve the comprehension of national insights. That way, they can develop a sense of nationality, tolerance, and obviously, respect for diversity.
While ADik and ADEM are not the only available affirmation programs, the two hold the pivotal key in enhancing Papua’s quality of human resources. With these two affirmation scholarship programs, Papuans can get more access to pursue higher education in multiple fields, such as engineering, socio-culture, anthropology, and so on, which later can benefit the development of their land.
Unquestionably, all the educational development programs can succeed if the Papuans participate and are involved in the process. Therefore, students from Papua and West Papua are expected to continually optimize this given opportunity to be the agents of change for their land.