Gov’t to Speed Up, Increase Funding for Early Childhood, Equivalency Education
Following the success of School Operational Assistance (BOS) fund management policy, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology has announced it will continue to speed up and increase funding for education units.
“The benefits of the breakthrough we made have indeed been felt by many sides, starting from the heads of education offices to heads of education units. I also want to give appreciation to those who have supported the transformation that we are making together with the Freedom to Learn movement,” Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Nadiem Anwar Makarim said at the launching of the Sixteenth Episode of Freedom to Learn: Funding Acceleration and Increase for Early Childhood Education (PAUD) and Equivalency Education, Tuesday (02/15).
Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Home Affairs transforms the policy on operational assistance funding of PAUD and equivalency education into a more accountable and just policy that is simpler in term of management.
“Last year, we managed to increase the budget of BOS funds for elementary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools, vocational high schools, and special schools significantly. The units also varied. More [funds] are given to [units in] areas in need of it. Second, last year we also distributed the funds directly to schools’ bank accounts. If schools had to wait [to receive the balance], had to use their own money first, they no longer have to do it now. Third, we give flexibility or freedom to use BOS funds to determine [the uses] as needed,” Nadiem said.
Nadiem also stated that the 2022 PAUD and equivalency education operational assistance policy reform covers the unit amount of PAUD costs that vary based on regional characteristics, direct distribution of PAUD and equivalency education operational assistance funds from the state treasury to bank accounts of education units, and the flexible use of PAUD and equivalency education operational assistance funds.
Nadiem further said that in 2022, BOS planning and report utilize Application of School Action Plan and Budget (ARKAS) as a sole application.
On average, Nadiem pointed out, the 2022 PAUD operational assistance increased by approximately 9.5 percent.
In fact, the operational assistance fund for Kasih Ibu Kindergarten in Mahakam Ulu regency, East Kalimantan province rose by 60 percent, while the fund for Lupuk PAUD in Lanny Jaya regency, Papua province doubled, he added.
“So, we give [the funds] based on the principle of [state ideology] Pancasila, namely social justice for all Indonesian people. We consider we cannot give the same funds to all schools. Those who need it more must be given more with affirmation principle,” he underscored.
According to Nadiem, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology guarantees that with direct transfer to education units, the first stage of PAUD and equivalency education operational assistance funds will be received in March this year at the latest.
“This is a very significant transformation. With direct transfer, the financial condition will be more stable and much more efficient,” he said, adding that the management transformation of operational assistance fund for PAUD and equivalency education also implements the principle of flexibility in use according to the needs of educational units.
“Far more independent, far more autonomous. We give the principals trust, but certainly with a more transparent reporting system,” he said.
For the record, the system of school budget management has been separated from the system of regional financial management. To simplify the system, ARKAS is integrated with the Regional Development Information System (SIPD), so educational units only have to fill up data on one application.
“Back then, we had to manage administration manually and separated it from regional governments and the Central Government. This year, it only requires ARKAS for school and MARKAS for [education] offices whose system is integrated. Schools only have to use one platform, namely ARKAS as the application to plan and report the use of BOS funds,” Nadiem said while thanking Minister of Finance and Minister of Home Affairs for the communication and collaboration that went well, so this breakthrough can be made.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani said that the Sixteenth Episode of Freedom to Learn program is important because one of the spirits is improvement in policies, procedures, funding, and granting bigger autonomy to educational units to reform school budgets.
“Education management and curriculum enhancement are essential and this program is supported by the State Budget. The use of State Budget that is directly transferred to schools must still maintain accountability,” she said.
According to Sri Mulyani, the collaboration between Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, and Ministry of Home Affairs in reforming budget and integrating BOS fund management information system was made to put budget accountability first and to monitor the State Budget effectiveness.
“The budget directly given to schools must be enjoyed [optimally] by both educators and students. It is also important to show that the state is present in simplifying bureaucracy,” she said while expressing great appreciation to all parties who continue to enhance education in Indonesia.
“Especially through the Freedom to Learn program, which is a part of the Government’s measures to improve and address challenges in enhancing the quality of education in Indonesia,” she said.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Acting Director General of Regional Financial Administration of Ministry of Home Affairs Agus Fatoni who attended the event on behalf of Minister of Home Affairs said that the Ministry is committed to provide a legal umbrella concerning operational assistance fund management and ARKAS utilization.
“We are very supportive of the integration of ARKAS and SIPD,” he said while urging regional governments to accelerate the determination and proposal of educational units’ bank accounts in order to distribute BOS fund as well as operational assistance funds for PAUD and equivalency education.
Agus also reminded regional governments to ensure that ARKAS system is well implemented, controlled, and monitored.
“We hope that regional governments can facilitate education offices, be it offices at the provincial, regency, or city levels, and encourage educational units to use ARKAS for budgeting, administration, and reporting,” he remarked. (PR of Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology/UN) (DH/MUR)