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    CORNER
 

Poverty has not come off the portrait of Indonesia, and there is even a tendency that many more people who are at risk of being poor. A while ago there were news and discussion about the number of poor people in Indonesia. It started with the president’s statement saying that according to BPS (Indonesia’s Central Agency on Statistics) the number of poor people Indonesia decreased to 16,6%, or about 36,1 million.

 

Some observers said that this number did not represent the reality of the poverty at least based on three things. First, the distribution of ‘Bantuan Tunai Langsung (BLT)’ (cash aid) is already to 12,8 families who categorized as poor and very poor.

If one family is consists of  4 members then the number of the poor is estimated at 51,2 million ot 23% of the total of 220 million Indonesia’s population. Other calculation is based on the distribution of free rice to 12,2 million of poor households, which indicates to 48,8 million of poor people or about 22%.Due to the increase of oil in October 2006 the number of poor people has gone up, although there are already intervention efforts.

 

keluarga miskin di kaltim

 

 

World Bank representative, Andrew Steer, even stated that 49% or 108 million of people in Indonesia live in poor condition, that is with income less than $2. If we take a closer look at the data on the connection between education and poverty according to the 2004 National Social and Economic Survey (Susenas Kor 2004) 41,67% of the poor did not graduate and 38,36% did graduate from Elementary School. It means that most of the poor have low level of education (80,03%). The number of poor people in villages is higher than in cities thus education in villages faces a serious challenge.

anak sekolah di kalbar  

The Reality of Village Education Concern

One day I was at the foot of Mt. Merbabu and had a chance to visit a kindergarten in a small village. The kindergarten was held in a class of a elementary school there with shabby brown wooden chairs. The teacher was teaching the children to read, write and count just like the way in teaching elementary students. It was more concerning that the teacher was a middle school graduate and never had a pedagogy background. Whereas a kindergarten is very much needed because it has a role to plant important basics for the sake of the holistic development of a child.

This is what is called a ‘golden period’ for children character building. Dr. Paul Meier, a Christian psychiatrist, says a child’s character is 85% formed by the age of 6. Other research by Benjamin S. Bloom, Ph.D, strengthened this opinion. Bloom stated that 50% of child’s potential would be formed until the child reaches the age of 5 and other 30% would be formed until the age of 8. Nevertheless, when we look at the number of preschools in Indonesia, they only serve some of the early age children.

 

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