Change change change Indonesia Moving Forward not Backwards


Change, change, change! Indonesia Moving Forward not Backwards

As we move into 2015 under a more progressive, socialist government, there is much hope for positive change that will be better for those who never benefitted before from previous governments: the majority of Indonesia’s population.

So far, we have seen a number of positive changes: plans put into place for an archipelago-wide shipping network to link Indonesia’s thousands of islands in such a way that prices of commodities are less disparate than they are at present; the implementation of a free healthcare system and welfare card for Indonesia’s poor that actually work; and the elimination of stating one’s ‘religion’ on identity cards.

In the pipeline is implementation of a 6-day week for government employees, to encourage actual ‘working’ the new president says. My sister-in-law who works in local government says that she regularly has to put in overtime, even on weekends, and that her department have just undergone an overhaul in accordance with ISO. Government offices are also now no longer allowed to hold meetings at hotels – something that will save many millions of rupiah in government budgets, allowing for more effective allocation of funds.

The next big one to be tackled is education. For any expat parent out there who have their children at local state or private schools will know that there are still huge issues with this one. There was a momentary backwards step around two years ago when radical religious factions in the government pushed for English to be taken off the national curriculum. Children are still ‘dictated to’ rather than being encouraged to think and join in on the conversation. Desks face front and are separated from child to child; students are not encouraged to work in groups. Text books are full of errors and are outdated. Children are still taught about creationism in place of scientific fact. School playgrounds are dangerous and often littered with rubbish. Canteens sell unhealthy food and drink. And yet, most parents still have to pay for their child’s education. At the end of 2014, I attended my son’s end-of-term parent-teacher meeting. If this was anything to go by, we still have a long journey ahead of us. More next issue.

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