Papuan Youth Careers, Going Forward Thanks to the Special Autonomy Fund

by Achmad Faisal (a former journalist observing Papua)

(The Governor of Papua attends the Papuan Student Graduation Ceremony in Oregon, United States; source:papuatimes.co.id)

From this special autonomy fund, many Papuan youth have studied up to the doctorate level at both domestic and foreign campuses.

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has committed to building superior human resources (HR) in Papua province for two periods of his reign. This is a priority for the President as a form of a large framework for answers to problems in Papua.

One of the steps taken by the government in improving human resources in Papua is by increasing the special autonomy fund. Of this special autonomy fund, about 30 percent is allocated for the education sector.

For 2021, the government has increased the special autonomy funds for Papua and Papua in the Draft State Expenditure Budget 2021 amounting to IDR 7.8 trillion. This number is up 3.3 percent from the 2020 State Budget.

The Papuan people themselves have felt the special autonomy funds in improving the human resources of Papuans both in Papua and West Papua. From this special autonomy fund, many indigenous Papuans have studied up to doctorates at a number of campuses, both domestically and abroad.

Director of the Young Kalaway Institute, Nanny Uswanasadmitted this. Nanny said that many Papuans became scholars because they received scholarships from Special Autonomy. In fact, according to Nanny, thanks to the education they have, Papuan children are not stuck working as civil servants only.

Education has made them talented and confident in doing other jobs for their future. These jobs include being an entrepreneur, Komika, Youtuber, and others.

Papuan intellectual figure, Moksen Idris Sirfefa, stated that currently many students from elementary, junior high, vocational, to tertiary levels have enjoyed special autonomy funds. In 2020 alone there were 20 pharmacy students from Papua who were studying in Russia with special autonomy funds.

Meanwhile, the Acting Regional Secretary of Papua, Doren Wakerkwa, said that as many as 1,051 people in the Otsusscholarship program had graduated from various educational institutions both at home and abroad. Currently, there are 1,236 active students who are funded by special autonomy funds. These students take various education both at home and abroad.

Doren explained that seven students studying from the Special Autonomy Fund were S3 overseas graduates, 22 S2 students, 148 S1 students, nine D3 students, 132 high school students.

In addition to overseas graduates, there are also graduates from the academy plus four pilot licenses and 24 collaborative facilities for S2-S3 BIT LPDP pathways.

Guru Besar IAIN Sorong Papua, Prof Ismail Wakke mengakui, alokasi dana Otsus di Papua merupakan keistimewaan yang tidak dimiliki provinsi lainnya. Ia mengapresiasi perhatian yang diberikan pemerintah terhadap pendidikan di Papua. Terlebihpemerintah juga mulai membangun satu per satu perguruantinggi di Papua. Ismail juga menyebut salah satu mahasiswaterbaik di Amerika adalah anak asli Papua.

A professor at IAIN Sorong Papua, Prof. Ismail Wakke, admitted that the allocation of special autonomy funds in Papua is a feature that other provinces do not have. He appreciated the attention given by the government to education in Papua. Moreover, the government has also started building one by one higher education institution in Papua. Ismail also said that one of the best students in America is a native Papuan.

These facts are certainly clear evidence that the Indonesian government is very committed to developing Papuan human resources in the education sector. The promises made by President Jokowi during his reign were not fictitious. Through Special Autonomy, the government continues to strive to improve the welfare of the Papuan people.

The Papuan people must also support the government’s good intentions. Indigenous Papuans should not be carried away by separatist provocations or certain groups that continue to inflame hostilities with the central government. The development of infrastructure and education brings Papua into the context of a developed province even though it is located at the eastern tip of Indonesia. Believe that Papua can progress and develop with the massive development currently being carried out by the government. ()

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