Monday, June 11, 2012

Cheap Education, Is It In The State?

Education is investment. A country that wants to grow big, must invest in cheap and quality education for its people. Educational investment is like pouring water on dry land, so much water is absorbed but there is no immediate reaction. Only the original dry soil gets wet, just like that. But if every day the land is doused with water then in a certain time we will reap the rewards, in the form of the growth of the seeds that we plant in the loose soil. Seeds grow into trees, then bear fruit and provide beneficial results for life.

Such is the education investment of a country. It takes a large amount of funds to be disbursed to the education sector so that education can be reached by everyone at low prices and even free. The funds must continue to be disbursed continuously, even though it took years and despite spending billions of rupiah. But the results are extraordinary, if the size of the education fund is accompanied by an improvement in the quality of education, a smart generation will be born that is ready to lead this country in the future and make it the world's tiger.

Education in Indonesia: Expensive

Unfortunately, the Indonesian government does not yet have a vision of education as a nation's investment. Various government regulations actually place education as an industrial commodity. Just look at the Higher Education Bill (PT) which is currently being formulated by the House of Representatives Commission X. The PT bill places campus as an autonomous institution so that it must be able to supply campus funding independently. The biggest and fastest source of funding is of course new students. As a result, every year there is always an increase in college entrance fees. At the University of Indonesia (UI), the tuition fee per semester ranges from Rp. 5 million to Rp. 7.5 million / semester. At the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) tuition fees reach Rp. 55 million and tuition fees per semester are Rp.5 million. Some ITB students even changed their welcome greetings on the campus which initially read, "Welcome to the Nation's Best Daughters," to be, "Welcome to the Richest Daughters of the Nation,"

The high cost of tuition makes it only for the wealthy to be able to receive higher education. The poor remain confined to an endless vicious circle, they are poor so they cannot go to high school, are not high school so they remain poor. Though many of these poor students are categorized as intelligent, they did not qualify for the PT entrance screening because of cost issues. As a result, PT lacks intelligent student candidates which leads to the low quality of graduates of PT. Even though these PT graduates will plunge into the community and build the country. If these low-quality PT graduates lead the country, we can be sure that this nation will survive in the downturn.

Need Systemic Support

Cheap and quality education is the right of every people, as well as assets of the future of the nation. To make it happen, systemic support is needed, not just one government organ such as the Ministry of Education and Culture. Because to realize cheap education requires a large amount of funds for several years and maybe even decades, until later in the future, the results can only be harvested by the next generation. While the current generation is in charge of planting it, without being tempted to get a quick return.

This is where solid economic and political support is needed. Economic regulation must place the fulfillment of people's basic needs as a top priority. It is not a busy economy talking about numbers, digits and percentages. Moreover, the economy is based on data manipulation. Political policy must also side with the people as parties whose rights must be fulfilled, including the right to education. Not populist political policies that are full of images to secure the seat of power.

Islam Realizes Quality Cheap Education

Islam and its Shari'a have comprehensive and concrete regulations to create quality low-cost education. This is evident in the leadership philosophy in Islam, where the leader is described as a shield that protects his people. This means that the government protects its people from all bad things including ignorance. Philosophically as well, leaders in Islam are like servants who are responsible for the mandate on their shoulders. So the leader is not busy with political deals to secure his chair, nor is he busy with imagery so that he always looks graceful in front of the people. Leaders in Islam are too busy taking care of their people so there is no time for imaging. His image was built with his devoted charity taking care of people's needs.

Islamic concern for education is not only on philosophical aspects, but also on the practical level of economic management to support education. The Greatest Teacher namely the Messenger of Allah made education as a ransom of prisoners of war in Medina. He was willing to free prisoners of war as long as each of them taught literacy to 10 residents of Medina. This means that the Prophet fulfilled the educational needs of the people of Medina with his political policies. The successors of the Messenger of Allah, continued this policy by not getting bored pouring massive funds for the construction of schools, campuses, dormitories, laboratories, libraries, research funds, even operational assistance for students such as pens and paper. So that everyone can get quality education for free. The results can be seen in the number of Muslim scientists whose names are engraved with gold ink because of their scientific contributions to world civilization. In contrast to our new country, it can record the "achievements" of corruption at the world level.

Thus education is an asset of the future of this nation. To create quality education requires systemic support as has been exemplified by Islamic civilization. Indeed, the Islamic system is capable of realizing quality cheap education for the people.


Name: James R. Good, SE
Domicile: Semampir Village RT / RW. 1/1 Sedati, Sidoarjo

MuslimDaily/The Truth Seeker Media

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