Going public to fully fund public education in Indonesia

published 8 May 2024 updated 8 May 2024

In Indonesia, Education International’s affiliate, Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI), is at the forefront of the Go Public! Fund Education campaign. PGRI is specifically calling on the Indonesian government to commit to allocating at least 20 per cent of national, provincial, and district budgets directly to public education. This funding commitment is critical for addressing major challenges within the education sector, such as improving inadequate infrastructure and enhancing teacher welfare.

On April 25, PGRI in collaboration with Education International, successfully hosted the Go Public! Fund Education national seminar. Held at the PGRI Teachers Building in Jakarta, the event marked a significant milestone in advocating for enhanced investment in education and teacher welfare in Indonesia.

The seminar brought together key stakeholders in the Indonesian education sector, including representatives from various educational departments and sectors. It was also attended by PGRI leaders and administrators nationwide, with 250 teachers and members from the Jabodetabek area attending in person. Additionally, a wider audience participated through a live stream, promoting extensive engagement throughout Indonesia.

In his remarks, EI’s General Secretary, David Edwards, highlighted the critical findings of the UN High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession in addressing the global teacher shortage and the importance of implementing the Panel’s recommendations. He stated: "In the face of a global crisis in education, the UN High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession has given us 59 bold recommendations. These are not mere suggestions; they are a clear call to action for governments worldwide to uplift our teachers and, thereby, our future.”

“At the core of the Go Public! Fund Education campaign is the imperative to uphold the dignity of the teaching profession. This necessitates substantial investment in teachers and public education if we are to effectively tackle the daunting challenge of the 44 million additional teachers needed to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030. In Indonesia, the PGRI target of an additional one million teachers is as bold as it is necessary,” Edwards went on to say.

EI’s General Secretary emphasized that public funding was crucial, not just for addressing immediate educational needs but also for laying a sustainable foundation for future generations: “We commend PGRI for its vigorous pursuit of direct and adequate funding, advocating for the essential 20 per cent budget allocation to truly enhance public education in Indonesia. A long-term investment in qualified, well-supported teachers is the most effective strategy to build resilient education systems. This means ensuring competitive salaries, good working conditions and job security.”

Following the seminar, David Edwards and PGRI President, Prof. Dr. Unifah Rosyidi, led a delegation to the Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the following day to present the UN High-Level Panel recommendations to her.

Key activities planned to further PGRI advocacy as part of the Go Public! Fund Education campaign moving forward include union leadership capacity building to empower leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively advocate for increased funding in public education. Additionally, comprehensive public information campaigns will be launched to engage the educational community and the public around the imperative to create a future where every child in Indonesia has access to quality education delivered by well-supported, respected, and professionally trained teachers.