Indonesia: PGRI wins court case for increase in education budget to 20%
EI affiliate in Indonesia, the Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia(Teachers' Association of the Republic of Indonesia) - PGRI, has won the case in the Constitutional Court to increase public education budget from the present 8.1% to 20% as according to the constitution.
After almost a year of wrangling, the Constitutional Court ruled on 22 Mar that the present budget allocation of 8.1% is against the 1945 Constitution which implicitly states 20% allocation to education. The Court also ruled that the Government and the House of Representatives should not avoid implementing the Constitution. Since 2005, both PGRI and the Indonesian Educationists' Association have been demanding a judicial review of the annual state budget allocation. They insist that the allocations by the successive governments and the House of Representatives violate the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia and the 2003 law which make it mandatory to allocate 20% of the state budget for education. Despite the constitutional and legislative provisions, the education expenditure has remained far below the mark - the government has never earmarked more than 10% for education except in the 1970s (14%). Timely interventions by EI in the form of appeal letters to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, the Chairman of Indonesian Parliament, the Constitutional Court and the Minister for National Education urging the implementation of the constitutional provision as requested by the PGRI, helped pressurise authorities into the prompt resolution of the case in favour of PGRI. Commenting after the ruling, the PGRI stated that "the Court had done justice to education and has given the correct interpretation of the Constitution over the concerns of practical politics. This ruling changes societal perception towards education and towards the rule of law and will discourage those who interpret legislation to best suit their own private cause." With this new development in place, education in Indonesia will surely improve. Thousands of children who are out of schools will have better access to schooling, the underpaid voluntary teachers will be replaced by fully-paid trained teachers and all of this will contribute to the attainment of Education for All in the country.