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Students call for free education

Group slams president for failure to "provide proper education for every citizen'

Students call for free education
University students urge govt to provide free and improved education
Konradus Epa, Jakarta

May 3, 2011

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Student activists from various organizations calling themselves “the student movement” have urged the government to realize free and better education for all Indonesians. “Poor people cannot afford to pay tuition fees. Also, now the curriculum is not relevant, resulting high unemployment rate of graduates,” Stefanus Gusma, chairman of the Union of Catholic University Students of the Republic of Indonesia (PMKRI), said in a statement at the group's May 1 press conference in Jakarta. The statement was made in conjunction with yesterday's National Education Day on May 2. According to Gusma, it is ‘very embarrassing’ that the quality of Indonesian education ranks 69th in the world, according to UNESCO's Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report  2011. Gusma also slammed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono ‘for failure to provide proper education for every citizen’ as stipulated in the 1945 Constitution. Rozy Fahmi of the Association of Islamic University Students (HMI) said some universities have even become capitalists, so that students of poor families cannot afford expensive tuition fees. He also lamented the low budget allocated for education. “How can Indonesians be smart if education facilities are poor?” he asked. The theme for the May 2 event was “Character Education as a Pillar of National Awakening. About 400 students from different university organizations walked from the Bundaran Hotel Indonesia to the presidential palace. Related report New education law unconstitutional, Church official says IJ14073
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