Would-Be Indonesian VPs Score an F for Education

A student wearing rain boots walks along a flooded corridor in
 Lopang Domba Elementary School in Serang, Banten, in November 2013.
 (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Jakarta. Educators have lambasted Indonesia’s two vice presidential candidates for pandering to the masses following their televised debate on Sunday in which they expounded on their education policies.

Both Hatta Rajasa, who is running with Prabowo Subianto, and Jusuf Kalla, the running mate to Joko Widodo, agreed on the need for increased education spending to build a more competent workforce to boost Indonesia’s global competitiveness — but experts said this oversimplified what was in reality a far more complex set of problems.

“When the candidates present their platforms, especially during a debate, they will of course tend to tout popular policies for the sake of looking good,” Muhammad Abduhzen, the executive director of the Education Reform Center at Jakarta’s Paramadina University, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

During Sunday’s debate, which centered on human resources and science and technology, Hatta emphasized the importance of improving the education system, and proposed increasing the number of teachers nationwide by 800,000 over the next five years.

“With a sufficient number of teachers, everyone will get a decent education and the quality of our human resources as well as technology and research will improve,” Hatta said.

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