Children in the Hinterland of Papua Take a 2-Hours Boat Ride for School – A Special Staff of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Billy Mambrasar, told the condition of education in Papua, especially in isolated areas and the border with Papua New Guinea. As stated by him, access to education for Papuans in border areas is still very limited. So, they need to travel a long distance just to be able to go to school.

“Yesterday I just came from my village, right on the border of the Republic of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. I had time to interact and play with children in the border area, no schools  at their village,” said Billy.

The limited number of schools on the Papuan border must make the children travel a long way. He said most children in villages near the border had to go to other villages that had schools.

“They have to take a two-hours boat ride to the next village to access primary school education. So the accessibility of education for rural areas is still far from our expectations,” said Billy.

Therefore, he hopes that the local government will soon be able to manage the education budget for Papua. So, education can be evenly distributed.

“That’s why the accountability of local governments in managing such a large budget handed down to them is important,” said Billy.

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Regarding budget accountability, said Billy, it is still an obstacle for local governments. He said the Papuan special autonomy funds for the education sector had been disbursed by the government amounting to Rp1.67 trillion in 2020.

The budget, added Billy, is bigger than the budget in the APBN.

“The 2020 education fund disbursed from the special autonomy amounted to Rp. 1.67 trillion, the funds are not trivial. Rp1.67 trillion out of a total of around Rp12 trillion in the existing budget. Compared to the education budget from the APBN which is only around Rp260 billion,  the special autonomy fund is certainly the bigger,” said Billy.

With such a large fund, Billy said that local government accountability and transparency are needed in managing the budget. If the issue of accountability is immediately resolved, he believes that the development of Papua can be finished.

“The problem is the issue of accountability and transparency, as well as the capacity of local governments, both provincial and district in managing the budget. For the interest of the community, there is less attention, especially since the central government is trying to prioritize and encourage development in Papua,” said Billy.

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