Education in West Papuaī

Education is one of the important elements for a nation to advance its youth and society.  This is also realized by the Indonesian Government by providing proper education for all people from west to east Indonesia with the 12-year compulsory education program.  Education is also deemed vital to ensure development in Indonesia equally reaches eastern Indonesia like the Land of Papua. It is not merely physical development but also human resources development that needs improvement with local context and necessity. Bolstering education will go to raising awareness of other aspects including environmental and food security issues.

Governor of Papua in the middle with 26 students who got scholarships from Russian Government.

Even though some Papuan live in remote areas, the government is able to reach and build school facilities and implementing a 12-years old compulsory education program. Moreover, Special autonomy for Papua gives more chance for Young Papuan to explore more about education. According to Jubi.co.id, in 2019 there are 515 Papuan students currently abroad 60 in Asia, 24 in Europe, 270 in the US, and 161 in Australia and New Zealand. Recently Papua local government also send 26 to Russia. Not only give an opportunity for their young Papuan to go abroad to study they also give scholarships for 847 Papuan inside the country which is spread in-state University in Indonesia.

The trust that is given by Indonesia and the local Government paid by Papuan Youth with achievement from their College. Two West Papuan students, Vanda Korisano and Martha Itaar have dreams of becoming pilots. The dream of retirement began to have a bright spot when they received a scholarship from the Papua provincial government’s Special Autonomy (Otsus) fund who studied at Nelson Aviation College, New Zealand, since 2014. Vanda and Marta, who arrived in New Zealand in 2014, were recorded as having received the award as the best pilot throughout the year for international students (Best all-around flying performance for international students). They got their certification in the form of; Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License, and Multi-Engine Instrument Rating. Nowadays they Successfully pursuing the dream of becoming the first female pilot from Papua on the Indonesian airline Garuda Indonesia as of June 2019. while Martha is accepted at Citilink.

Bob Royend Sabatino Kaway and Thinus Lamek Yewi

Two other young Papuan are Bob Royend Sabatino Kaway and Thinus Lamek Yewi. They succeeded in representing Indonesia after successfully joining the NASA research team in March 2016. Bob and Thinus managed to become part of the NASA research team when the Education Office visited the school and selected children to join the NASA research team. Bob and Thinus did not miss this opportunity. They followed the initial selection at the Jayapura Education Office.

Septinus George Saa (Picture taken from Merdeka.com)

Another Papuan is Septinus George Saa who won the world competition First Step to Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004 while still in high school. Then he continued his studies with a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering in Florida, United States after graduating from high school. Not only that, George continued his education to master material engineering in England. The motivation is so that he can pass on his success to other Papuan children.

Scrutinize what Indonesian Government program for West Papua by implementing Special Autonomy, from my point of view it gives a lot of advantages for local government to develop Papua especially young Papuans to pursue their dream with proper education. By giving them the opportunity to have proper education abroad will bring motivation for another young Papuan to pursue their dream and develop West Papua. I think this is the better way either than they join the rebels and don’t have a good future. And Politics should not interfere and affect another aspect of their life but perhaps co-operation with other countries must continue to bring more prosperity for Papuans as well as Melanesian People.