Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta is among 29 top universities appointed by the government to help boost quality at struggling institutions. (Photo Konradus Epa/ucanews.com)
Two top Catholic universities in Indonesia have been chosen by the government to help under developed universities improve education quality.
The move is part of Indonesian government efforts to raise the standard of higher education in the country and improve the workforce.
The government wants the 29 universities to transfer knowledge between them and the institutions they have been assigned to, not only on the academic front, but also with regard to administration and management.
Indonesia has more than 4,600 state and private colleges, many of which fail to offer anywhere near the same level of education as top tier institutions, critics say.
More than 20 Catholic colleges and four Catholic universities are regarded as being in the top tier according to the Education Ministry.
Elisabeth Rukmini, Vice Rector for Collaboration, Research & Strategic Planning at Atma Jaya Catholic University, said the university regarded the task as an honor, which showed the government recognized the school as one of the best in Indonesia.
She said Atma Jaya was to take under its wing four Catholic and Protestant colleges in East Nusa Tenggara province where the quality of education remains a big issue.
"Our task is to help raise their standards," Rukmini told ucanews.com.
According to Rukmini, the program will last a year.
"We will also invite lecturers from East Nusa Tenggara universities to learn directly from us," she said.
Soegijapranata Catholic University, meanwhile, has been handed the task of mentoring five institutions regarded as third tier schools.
"The government has assigned us five universities in Medan, North Sumatra, two of which are Catholic and the other three Protestant," said Agustinus Luwi Handoko, a lecturer at Soegijapranata.
"Workshops will help improve their administration, management and accreditation process and we will also invite their lecturers to see how we do things at this university," he added.
Franciscan Father Vincentius Darmian Mbula, an educational expert and chairman of National Council of Catholic Universities, welcomed the initiative.
He said many universities — including Catholic ones — are struggling to provide excellence.
"I hope this program can improve Catholic colleges in Indonesia so that they can provide more graduates with excellent capabilities," he said.
Education Ministry official Aris Junaidi, said each mentor university will receive US$23,000 to go toward the program.