Indonesia Says New Higher Education Law Will Keep Universities Affordable
The Education and Culture Ministry shot down concerns on Friday that a draft law on higher education would make it harder for poor students to attend college.
A ministry official said university fees would remain “affordable” because under the revised law, the ministry would decide the fees.
“Such concerns are baseless. Seat allocation for poor students shall remain,” Sukemi, a special staff to the Education and Culture Minister, said on Friday. “The Ministry will also decide how much the education fee for each [state] university will be, and we will keep it affordable.”
The new law would establish a minimum seat allocation for poor students at 20 percent, Sukemi said. The government expects lawmakers to pass the bill in July or August, he added.
“Under the revised law, the concept of universities is nonprofit,” he said. “With their own autonomy, universities will be more flexible, but we will keep monitoring their finances.”
Sukemi said that while the government would not interfere in academic activities, if a university wanted to open a new major it would have to submit an application procedure to the ministry.
Raihan Iskandar, a lawmaker from Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said the revised law would increase access to higher education to those who cannot afford to pay.
“The last draft [of the law] is designed to provide quality but cheap education,” he said. “Students from poor families who qualified to a university must be accepted by the university.”
Raihan added that the 20 percent number only a minimum, not a maximum.