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Commemorating the First-ever International Day of Education: Indonesia and the World to Take Bigger Steps to Achieve Educational Equality

Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.”
Chief of UNESCO at the Inauguration of the International Day of Education


Education has played a crucial role in the efforts of achieving all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); therefore, its importance could not unquestionably be overlooked. The establishment of the International Day of Education by the United Nations indicates further awareness and commitments of the international community to embody the 4th SDGs, which is quality education. The UN chief emphasized during the inaugural day, that the world could not afford a youth generation who have inadequate necessary skills to compete in the 21st century economy. He stated so as there are still at least 262 million children, adolescents, and youth who are out of school, in which most of them are girls; millions who attend the school are not mastering the basics.  It could be seen that unequal access to education has become a major obstacle for most countries in achieving inclusive growth, and therefore, should be taken into account by all layers of the society.

Each country has different levels of educational disparities within it, regardless of whether it is a developed or developing, a poor or rich nation. The United Kingdom, despite its position as the world’s 5th largest economy, is ranked 23th in the world in primary school inequalities, according to UNICEF’s report, An Unfair Start. The driving factors of the inequalities might be due to unequal income distribution, as well as low quality education.This also happens in Australia, where educational inequality has largely taken place, with the discrepancy of socioeconomic status and parents’ education as the main influencing factors, which also have contributed to the widening gap between rich and poor. Aside from those aforementioned factors, the conduct of discriminatory practices might also be the cause, either based on race, religion, gender, and so forth.

Indonesia is no different compared to the aforementioned countries; it is also experiencing high educational disparities. While a child in Jakarta could pursue 11 years of schooling, a child in Papua could only be expected to complete 6 years of education in schools. It could be seen that the access to education in rural areas is still highly limited. To add further, the significant discrepancy of income in Indonesia has made the problem becomes worse; high-quality education remains inaccessible for those who come from poor families. Only those who come from financially-capable families who would be able to choose between private or public schools. Students with disabilities also experience educational inequality and inaccessibility, as according to the research carried out by the University of Indonesia, almost 70% of disabled children do not go to school, and 66.8% of them even only have the chance to pursue their education until the primary school level.  Those cases indicate how inclusive education still remains a challenge that Indonesian government and society should strive for it harder to make it into the reality.

Currently, education has increasingly mattered more than ever, as people could pursue better opportunities and live better lives if they are sufficiently educated. Nonetheless, the increasing educational inequalities in the world has made achieving inclusive and quality education becomes a challenge that should be resolved by the international community. Universal access to education should be guaranteed through collaborations among government, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders in order to make sure that the “No One Left Behind” tagline is not merely a talk, but also an act.

written by Felice Valeria – Content Writer Project Child Indonesia

Everyone Can Participate to Support SDGs

As a follow-up to the past 15-year Millennium Development Goals agenda, in September 2015 the United Nations launched a new, more universal, inclusive and comprehensive resolution called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs have 17 new goals to encourage sustainable development based on human rights and equality to encourage social, economic and environmental development. SDG number 6 aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation which one of its targets is to provide access to safe and affordable drinking water that is universally and evenly distributed to everybody in 2030.

Indonesia has committed to support the Sustainable Development Goals by adopting most of the SDGs targets and indicators into the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024. The integration of the global agenda into the RPJMN shows that the government is paying great attention to legitimizing and providing a legal basis for the implementation of the SDGs agenda in Indonesia.

In July 2017 President Jokowi has signed Presidential Regulation No. 59 of 2017 concerning Implementation of Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals that establish the structure and mechanisms for national SDGs management for planning, budgeting, financing, monitoring and reporting. In this regulation it is stated that one of the national targets of the 2015-2019 RPJMN is to increase access to safe drinking water for 40% of the lowest income population in 2019 to 100%.

The regulation is also a commitment to the implementation and achievement of SDGs carried out in a participatory manner by involving all parties. In accordance with the main principles of SDGs namely inclusion and participation, the importance of the role of non-government actors such as mass organizations, philanthropy, business actors, academics and other related parties is explained there. Various platforms at national and regional levels are needed to bring these non-government actors together and realize a real partnerships.

Non-governmental organizations have an important role in communicating SDGs to the public by making the policy process more transparent and easily accepted. One of the goals of increasing public awareness about SDGs is to empower communities to participate in solving problems around them and contribute to the SDGs.

Besides NGOs, the participation of various parties is a constituent part of sustainable development which is crucial for the realization of the agenda’s objectives by combining various sources of information, knowledge and expertise to generate new ideas, foster commitment for all parties involved, increase awareness of an issue and understand what challenges need to be resolved together.

Project Child Indonesia can be one of the platforms for the meeting of governments, investors, civil society and academics to achieve the goals of the 6th SDGs with the implementation of the Drinking Water Program (DWP). Since its implementation in 2016, DWP has had a positive impact on 29 schools in Yogyakarta, 4 schools in Fakfak, and will continue to be developed in various regions in Indonesia.

This program guarantees the availability of safe and affordable drinking water in schools with funds obtained from investors who care about this issue. Counseling in schools regarding the need for access to drinking water for all communities, the importance of getting enough drinking water for children, and the advantages of the water filter system in terms of health, financial and environmental are also provided by young volunteers who come from various universities in Indonesia and abroad.

The 2030 Agenda emphasizes on “integration” and “unity”, where goals and targets will not be achieved if all parties are working individually. A coherent and holistic approach involving various parties will improve the implementation of SDGs and contribute to the coherence of policies for sustainable development in order to create a civil society.


written by Hidayati Dwi Kusuma Pratiwi