It's really great news that the education budget will be increased by 20 percent (The Jakarta Post, July 10). But on April 19, the Post reported that Rp 4.6 trillion (US$516.85 million) disappeared from the 2006 education budget.
So, will the extra funds be allocated for the improvement of severely under funded schools or will it go to corrupt government officials?
There are two things that I would be very interested in seeing. First is a comprehensive audit of all bank accounts owned by officials of the National Education Ministry and those owned by their family members. Second is an audit of where every child of every ministry employee goes (or went) to school or university.
I would be very interested to know just how many of these officials have large sums of money in their bank accounts, even though their salaries are quite low.
How many of them send their children to study at private schools or universities or even at overseas universities (after stealing taxpayer money), while they complain that the budget is too limited to make substantial reforms in the education system here?
If the President issued a decree ruling that all government officials, including ministers, have to send their children and grandchildren to state schools, we perhaps would see immediate and radical improvements in the quality and standards of national education.
Published in Jakarta Post on July 27, 2007