Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Teachers to receive new allowances

National News - February 20, 2007
Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government will pay a functional allowance to teachers at state-run schools and increase that paid to religious teachers at private schools, ministers told the House of Representatives on Monday.

Education Minister Bambang Sudibyo told the House's education commission that teachers on the lowest rank would receive an allowance of Rp 100,000 per month.

"The government will first pay the functional allowance to more than 169,000 teachers, who are also civil servants," he said.

"Teachers on the second rank will receive Rp 286,000 per month, those on the third rank Rp 327,000 per month and those on the fourth rank receive Rp 389,000 per month."

Bambang said the government had allocated Rp 111.2 billion to pay the functional allowance for teachers this fiscal year.

Despite being late, the government's announcement was praised by the education commission, which said the move had been long awaited.

"The situation of most teachers, especially those teaching religious ethics at Islamic schools, is still far from the standard. (The religious teachers) are paid Rp 50,000 to Rp 70,000 monthly and this is not enough to cover transportation cost to their workplace," said House education commission chairman Hazrul Azwar.

Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni told the commission that as of this fiscal year, more than 556,000 teachers at Islamic educational institutions would receive an increase on their allowances, which would rise to Rp 200,000 per month, up from Rp 115,000.

Cyprianus Aoer, a member of the commission, asked the government to revise the budget in other sectors so that 20 percent of the total state budget could be spent on education.

"The government must make a long-term investment in the education sector to fix the quality of the country's human resources," he said.

"The country will lose the competition in the global economy unless such an investment is made in the education sector now."

The government has allocated 11 percent of the budget to education.



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