There is a growing awareness of the human development index as a measure of a country’s development. Without good human resources, some regions may find it difficult to thrive optimally. In the case of West Papua, it is very important to scrutinize this detail to determine the future direction.
Key Aspects of the Human Development Index
Measuring the development index is difficult. The convention has agreed on three important aspects to measure to make things simpler. These aspects include:
Life expectancy (long and healthy life)
This particular aspect measures the average life expectancy at birth. It is a complex aspect because there are many factors that may influence life expectancies, such as economic development and healthcare quality. Higher life expectancy generally means that a country or region has advanced enough in those two categories.
There are two data to gather in measuring education or knowledge index: expected years of schooling and mean years of schooling. The first information is related to how long a student will enjoy the education system after entering it. It also summarizes the data about how many years of schooling on average do 25 year-olds get.
Decent standard of living
This aspect is related to the income of people there. With a good income, someone can afford to live comfortably. The parameter is GNI per capita. To calculate this parameter, the government needs to sum up the income that the region receives in a fiscal year then divide that number by the total population.
Human development index is considered a strong measurement for development, particularly because it measures the socio-economic situation of a region. It shows how successful the government has been in improving the quality of life for its people. After learning the number, the government can make plans for improvement.
Current Situation in West Papua
There is a general improvement in the human development index in this region. Based on the data from 2010 to 2021, there is about a 0.79% increase per year. In 2010, the human development index was measured at 59.6. This number went up to 65.26 in 2021.
However, 2021 showed the lowest growth in the last decade. It happens due to the lower GNI per capita that the region received that year. Pandemic has certainly taken a toll on economic growth. Thus, the efforts to revitalize it are currently in motion.
Tambrauw is a regency that consistently shows a high human development index in West Papua. Meanwhile, Arfak Mountains Regency has often displayed a low index in the past years. The index even dropped 0.36% from the previous year. With this knowledge, we can gather that not all regencies and cities fare well.
Nonetheless, the growth of the human development index in the last ten years or so indicates that the government pays attention to improving the socio-economic situation in the province. Since 2012, the growth has been categorized as ‘medium’ instead of ‘low’. It is a motivation to grow even bigger.
Direction of Development
The government is very conscious of the urgency of this matter. Currently, it seems that the government focuses on the following issues:
Special autonomy fund
The central government provides a special autonomy fund so that the region can fulfill its needs to develop in the right direction. A study in 2020 had found a correlation between the fund and the growth of the human development index in West Papua. Unfortunately, the correlation is still very low.
Several reasons may cause this issue, such as geographic and sociological factors as well as local government policies. Changes must be made on a regional level to make sure that the fund translates better to the index.
It is clear that the effort to improve the healthcare system in this province is another main concern. Many people live so far from healthcare facilities. Because of that, when a health emergency happens, these people do not receive the necessary medical attention on time. Thus, the government is committed to building more healthcare facilities.
There is also an effort to utilize the local community to monitor the health of Papuan people better. It is specially targeted toward children and the elderly, the most vulnerable categories.
A significant percentage of people in Papua do not receive an adequate education. The number goes even lower for higher education. It is not surprising that education has become another main concern for the current administration.
One effort that the government made was to increase funding for higher education. This funding can be used for scholarships and research by university faculties. Additionally, there are also efforts to improve the infrastructures in primary education. That way, students can learn more comfortably.
It is apparent that the human development index in West Papua is growing every year. However, this growth is still not fast enough. The government should make changes in its policies in order to support a higher rate of growth in this index. In the end, the target is to improve the quality of life for people in the province.