Indonesian Educators Fear New Law On Universities

A recent law passed by the Indonesian legislature has aroused considerable controversy among educators who fear the unstated implication would be to allow commercialization of higher education in the country. The law passed by the House of Representatives upheld the principles of autonomous campus management and allowed six state universities to raise and manage public funds in exchange for reducing government subsidies. There is fear universities will gradually reduce costs at the expensive of underprivileged students. At present, Indonesia only allocates 0.24% of its GDP to higher education compared to 2.4% in the United States. Many education experts believe the government is trying to reduce its expenditures on higher education by allowing universities to manage their budgets and get in the business of raising money on their own.

A university does not receive money from the corporate world without raising the spectre of ceding control of how it allocates funds. For example, it might lead to pushing business programs at the expense of the liberal arts. It is a tricky slope and only leadership which is committed to academic freedom and creation of universities which play a role in fostering liberal arts will ensure that school is more than learning a trade.