Govt: Basic Education Costs in Line with 1945 Constitution

Director-General for Early Childhood Education, Basic Education, and Secondary Education of the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education Iwan Syahril testifying at a material judicial review hearing of Law No. 20 of 2003 on the National Education System, Tuesday (3/19/2024). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The financing of basic education is in line with the mandate of Article 31 paragraphs (2) and (4) of the National Education System (Sisdiknas Law), said Director-General for Early Childhood Education, Basic Education, and Secondary Education of the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education Iwan Syahril at a material judicial review hearing of the National Education Law on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 in the Constitutional Court’s (MK) plenary courtroom. The hearing was presided over by Chief Justice Suhartoyo and the other eight constitutional justices.

Iwan said that Constitutional Court Decisions No. 026/PUU-III/2005, No. 026/PUU-IV/2006, No. 24/PUU-V/2007, and No. 13/PUU-VI/2008 relating to the education budget have become a reference in the allocation of education budget.

“After the a quo decisions, the Government and the House of Representatives has consistently follow them in terms of the allocation of education budget, the manner of calculation, and the components of the education budget, including basic education,” he explained.

He asserted that the Government needs to emphasize that it has provided the best resources and nade continuous progress in the education budget in accordance with the 1945 Constitution. The Government is guided by the principles established by the Constitutional Court in Decision No. 97/PUU-XVI/2018. In response to the Petitioner’s argument that the National Education System Law has caused multiple interpretations, Iwan said that the State, through the lawmaking agencies, recognizes community participation in the national education system, including in basic education as regulated in the National Education System Law.

“Before the establishment of the Republic of Indonesia, the implementation of community-based education was an indisputable fact and it was a form of community participation that could not be negated. The State, through the lawmaking institutions, recognizes such participation in the national education system, including in the basic education as stipulated in Law No. 20 of 2003,” he stressed.

Education Funding

Iwan also explained that the Government is absolutely committed to fulfilling the education budget of 20% of the state budget and ensuring its effectiveness, including for financing basic education. In addition to the state budget, education is also funded by the regional budgets. Education is one of the mandatory government affairs related to basic services that must be implemented by local governments in the context of regional autonomy.

Further education funding arrangements are regulated in Government Regulation (PP) No. 48 of 2008 on Education Funding. From the explanation of education costs, it can be concluded that education costs not only include students’ personal costs, so the allocation of basic education funding has a broader scope.

In addition, Iwan explained that the Government provides appreciation, support, and also quality control for basic education organized by the community or private sector. The higher number of private schools than public schools is a tangible form of the right of community participation in the implementation of education.

Basic education has factually been implemented by the community through various forms of education management body and manner (such as religion). There are also basic education units that organize mixed school models with boarding, as well as international schools (cooperative education units). All this variety does have implications on education costs, which vary. In this context, the obligation to finance basic education through education funding is stipulated in the PP on Education Funding.

“Also, basic education units organized by the community (private), due to the limited capacity of public schools, has also been an empirical and social option for the community and students. This means that considerations about school choice and cost consequences have been accepted by the community. The students’ willingness and ability to finance their education, especially in private schools, is also a form of participation. In this case, certain schools stated that they are not willing to accept education funding from the Government. In this case, for example, some schools claimed they had not received school operational assistance,” Iwan stressed.

At the hearing, the Petitioners presented budget researcher Badi’ul Hadi as an expert. He said the Reformation brought about changes in Indonesia’s governance, including on both the state (APBN) and provincial and regency/city regional budget (APBD). He explained that Article 31 of the 1945 Constitution explicitly regulates several government obligations related to education, i.e. financing basic education, seeking and organizing a national education system, prioritizing an education budget of at least 20% of the state and regional budgets, and advancing science and technology by supporting religious values and national unity for the development of the nation.

Hadi argued that Article 31 emphasizes that both the central and regional governments are obligated to provide services and to guarantee the implementation of quality and easy education for every citizen without discrimination, including in terms of education financing. Therefore, the State must provide sufficient budget resources, especially to finance basic education.

The education function budget is the allocation of education function expenditure budgeted in the state budget to finance the implementation of education, which is the Government’s responsibility. This includes educators' salaries, but excludes budgets for civil service academies. The 20% education budget allocation policy is also an effort to implement the fifth precept of Pancasila—social justice for all Indonesian people. This principle emphasizes that all Indonesians have equal rights to the results of resource management, in this case to access good and quality education services.

Hadi also sees the need to review the implementation of the 20% budget allocation policy from the state and regional budgets to ensure that the budgets are actually used for education. Other expenses such as educators’ salaries should be excluded from the education budget.

At the same hearing, the Court also heard two witnesses, Juwono and Mirnawati. Both of them revealed obstacles and barriers in financing their children’s education at the junior high school (SMP) level.

“It started with my child’s failure to enter a public junior high school in the 2013/2014 academic year due to his low elementary school exam scores. The limited capacity of public schools versus the high number of elementary school graduates and the high passing score set by each school made my son, who had low scores, to not be accepted by public schools in the city where we live. So, he went to a low-cost private school,” Juwono explained.

Also read:

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Law No. 20 of 2003 on the National Education System (Sisdiknas Law) is being materially challenged to the Constitutional Court (MK) in case No. 3/PUU-XXII/2024. The Petitioners—CSO Jaringan Pemantau Pendidikan Indonesia (JPPI) or Network Education Watch Indonesia (New Indonesia) and three individual petitioners—Fathiyah, Novianisa Rizkika, and Riris Risma Anjiningrum—challenge the phrase “compulsory education for basic education free of cost” in Article 34 paragraph (2) of the Sisdiknas Law. The article reads in full, “The Government and local governments shall guarantee the implementation of compulsory education at least for basic education free of cost.”

At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, legal counsel Arif Suherman alleged that the phrase was multi-interpretive since only basic education in public schools are free of cost. He argued that free basic education only applies in public schools, not in private schools. As such, the phrase “compulsory education for basic education free of cost” in Article 34 paragraph (2) has created legal uncertainty. This, he alleged, is a form of discrimination in education.

For this reason, in their petitum, the Petitioners asked the Court to declare the phrase “compulsory education for basic education free of cost” in Article 34 paragraph (2) of the Sisdiknas Law conditionally unconstitutional not legally binding if not interpreted as “compulsory education for basic education in public and private schools free of cost.” 

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 | 14:11 WIB 112