Community Education in West Papua’s Remote Areas

The Importance of Community Education in West Papua's Remote Areas

Education is an important factor in determining the quality of human resources. Given this, the low quality of community education in West Papua’s remote areas is a concern for various parties.

Therefore, let’s find out how the condition of communities’ education in Papua and what the government’s efforts have been like.

Human Development Index in Papua Province

In 2022, the Human Development Index figure from the Central Bureau of Statistics increased by 0.63% from the previous year. Unfortunately, this does not make this province in the safe category nationally, even though it scored 65.89 [1].

The fact that West Papua’s HDI score is still below the national HDI average proves that this province needs more serious attention in the education sector.

In addition to the HDI, the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics also noted that the school enrollment rates (APS) for elementary and junior high schools, expected school years (HLS), and average school years (RLS) in the province are still below the national average.

Why is the Quality of Education in West Papua Lagging Behind?

Community Education in West Papua's Remote Areas Must Be Improved

Based on data from an academic at the University of Papua, Agus Sumule, 68,988 school-age children in 13 regencies and cities in West Papua are no longer studying in school[2].

In addition to difficulties in access to schools and lack of infrastructure[5], several factors have contributed to the large number of children dropping out of school in this area, including:

1. Lack of Communities Attention in the Field of Education

Many people in the province of West Papua, especially those who live in remote areas, still think that education is not important.

2. Customary Issues

Examples include customary disputes that make parents move to another area with their children. As a result, the child’s education is neglected

3. Family Factor

The existence of early marriages, divorces, etc., that end up in the realm of law makes children embarrassed to go back to school.

What are the Government’s Efforts So Far?

Government Efforts to Improve Community Education in West Papua's Remote Areas

 

In fact, from 2002 to 2022, the total special autonomy funds (Otonomi Khusus – Otsus) that have been spent have reached 1,092 trillion rupiah[3].

In fact, the transfer of funds to regions and villages is the highest nationally, amounting to 702.3 trillion rupiahs. Unfortunately, as seen today, there has been no significant progress in the education sector.

Meanwhile, real efforts have been made by the Library of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries[4]. Efforts to strengthen the quality of community education that have been carried out include the following:

  • Providing literacy materials in the form of reading books, comics, and magazines in Community Reading Centers (TBM) in several villages.
  • Conduct literacy guidance to children in several areas. The guidance material is packaged in storytelling, group games, watching short films, etc.
  • Providing educational assistance to children through bags, stationery, and so on.

Plans to Improve Community Education in the Future

Plans to Improve Community Education in West Papua's Remote Areas

Parties involved in education management are recommended to change their policy focus. That way, the community is able to obtain satisfactory educational attainment.

Following the special autonomy law, Filep Wamafma as a member of the West Papua Provincial Regional Representative Council (DPD), suggested that the provincial and district governments must implement the following efforts[5]:

  • Allocating the education budget for the Papuan people (OAP) up to the tertiary level.
  • Allocating budget for educational facilities and infrastructure
  • Provide scholarships/education funding for talented OAP
  • Meet the needs of qualified teachers and teaching staff

In addition to some of the things above, parties such as the education office also need to build communication with various components of society such as traditional institutions, village apparatus, religious institutions, etc.

Finally, by involving many components of society, there will be an increase in public awareness about the importance of education. That way, people can slowly and surely improve the quality of community education in West Papua’s remote areas.