Education’s issue in Indonesia has been debated countless time. Education is a crucial matter as it plays major roles to form moral quality of society and as a primary basis for people to develop a nation in diverse aspects: economy, political, social, science and technology. However, the fees of high-quality schools in my country are inapplicable expenses for the poor people. As a result, they are mostly having difficulty paying school fees for their children. It is reasonable for most Indonesian to label education as an expensive thing.
A phenomenon of my childhood remains in my memory. As I went to school in the morning, I witnessed many kids about the same age as me or even younger hang around the streets selling a newspaper, being a street singer or a beggar. A misfortune approached those kids. While the others and I had educational opportunities through school, those kids were already engaged in making money even at an early age leaving no time thinking of education. Perhaps some of them had interest to attend school, but the school expenses would despair their desire. As I grow up, I always experience a flashback whenever I pass the streets. The same phenomenon is still happening to other new kids who are supposed to be at school, making their livelihood on the street. Even in the democracy era, poverty still blocks a person to gain equality in obtaining education.
The cases of school dropout, or inability to continue education to the higher grade due to lack of financial support have become commonplace in the education issue. The media highlighted the news of an ordinary high school girl, obtaining the best national examination scores in her city, should despair her ambition to become a teacher as her parents could not afford the college expenses. If, all along, money is always needed to pay the toll, consequently a great competence cannot provide someone with an absolute assurance for him or her to gain an access to enter a good school or college. Certainly, money is the greatest hindrance to the poor people to deserve to be well-educated. Unfortunately, it has become the persistent issue of education.
On the contrary, the numerous cases of some bad students from rich families, that shirk the responsibilities as student by playing truant, or breaking school rules without concern for the repercussion to be discharged from the schools considering they have money to gain accesses to transfer into other schools. As for the poor students, they have been dealing with the risk of dropping out as they cannot settle the school expenses, despite the fact that they are exemplary students. Getting their inner heart touched by a desire to help out their parents, the poor students are earnestly taking a part-time job, from newspaper delivery to labor. Practically many students, especially those derived from poor families, are in pains in order to accomplish their education. Nevertheless, they remain attempt and sincerely endure the hardship as they need to be well-educated, expecting for higher education can lead them for obtaining a better future. This irony has revealed a different viewpoint on the education issue, that the right to a decent education should not be determined by money.
If I had a prerogative or a privilege to improve education in my country, I would transform the policy of educational expenses. The policy would turn into free education for poor people. However, the obligation to pay school expenses still exists for students from rich families. According to their parents’ revenue, the greater the amount is, the greater they have to pay for school. These payments will be used for the development of educational programs. The rationale is derived from one of the government’s rules, the obligation to pay tax. The amount of tax value of every person is determined by wealth and property. Through this rationale, I attempt to apply this rule to the policy of educational expenses. The difference is that poor people do not need to pay for school expenses. I believe they deserve it more since the matters, the obligation to pay tax and the living cost, are already burdensome. This concept will probably cause a lot of controversy, but I view this as an impartial decision. “The strong help the weak” so this is how the thing supposes to run, the rich should help the poor, including in the term of education matter. The point is without any fees the poor deserve the education as the rich get, otherwise the rich contribute financial support for the development of educational programs and must willing to share the same utilities with the poor.
In addition, I would provide additional allowances for those, both the poor and the rich students who have excellent academic record. This is not discrimination for students who have low academic record, but it is rather an incentive. Thus, the students are motivated to push their academic record to be better so that they can obtain an additional allowance.
Supporting this policy, I would attempt to provide sufficient money by finding additional financial sources. Many foreign companies have interest to build and run the industries in my country due to the riches of natural resources we have. They acquire our natural resources so they must bestow the enrichment of our human resources through educational programs. I call it equivalent exchange. I would ask of every foreign company that runs their industries in my country to provide a number of scholarship programs for poor people and high-achieving students. In addition, each mayor in each city must provide a number college scholarship for local citizen. Looking for a grant through global organizations could be a great opportunity to obtain additional fund for education. There are many nonprofit organizations that offer education fund for developing country. I would enthusiastically and proactively seek and apply for a grant. All these efforts to realize a wish of free education exists for poor people.