Scholarships for West Papua
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) – The Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs has awarded scholarships to 253 native Papuans to help them pursue undergraduate programs at universities in six big cities.
“We are sending 253 native Papuan youths to pursue their higher education in six big cities in Indonesia,” Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said in Jayapura on Thursday.
Razi said he is keen to see the scholarship awardees complete their higher education, and obtain Sarjana (bachelor) degrees at least.
After the recipients successfully get their Sarjana degrees with satisfactory grades, the ministry will offer another scholarship program to help them continue their studies at the post-graduate level.
The Religious Affairs Ministry is currently implementing the 5,000 Doctoral Degree Program, he added.
ANTARA has earlier reported how the development of human resources remains a tricky challenge for Papua and West Papua as the human development index scores for the provinces remain low compared to that of other provinces in Indonesia.
On Indonesia’s 2019 human development index, the scores of Papua and West Papua were recorded at 64.7 and 60.84, respectively.
At the global level, Indonesia’s human development index is lower than that of several other countries.
As the world’s fourth most populous country, Indonesia is yet to rank among the world’s most literate nations.
A 2016 study conducted by John W. Miller, a noted researcher at the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), ranked Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Germany, Latvia, and the Netherlands as the 10 most literate nations in the world.
In the study, Indonesia had ranked 60th out of 61 countries. Its rank was better than that of just Botswana, though far behind Singapore, which was placed 36th, and Malaysia, which took the 53rd position.
The 2016 study synthesized “literacy achievement tests (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and Programme for International Student Assessment) and literate behavior characteristics (population, newspapers, libraries, years of schooling)”.
Miller asserted that a nation’s literate behaviors contribute to its successes and failures in dealing with the demands of the world’s knowledge-based economics. (INE)
It should be noted that the scholarships for West Papua is far from being political. It is a serious effort by central and local government to increase the quality of human resources in the region. The more West Papuan get higher education the better the future of West Papua and Papua provinces.