Indonesian think tank promoting cheap and effective school education.

There is a recently-established free enterprise think tank in Indonesia. The Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies, CIPS is focussed on low cost private education. All the links are in Indonesian so I have only put in the one with pictures.

Greetings from Jakarta!
We are delighted to share some thrilling news. CIPS was officially launched on October 21, with representatives of the Indonesian Government, embassies and private corporations joining us in Jakarta to mark this milestone.

We were honoured to have the Competition Commission Chairman, Dr M Syarkawi Rauf, to officiate the launch. In his speech, he touched on the importance of economic freedom and fair competition – both key values that we place in our policy recommendations. It strengthens our belief that these discussions are significant in shaping public policy and improving the livelihood of many Indonesians.

The launch was preceded by another exciting initiative, the roll-out of the CIPS Academy programme. This is the first of its kind in public policy training by a think-tank in Indonesia. Training is provided through a combination of theoretical work, data analysis and field studies.

Fourteen trainees were selected as the pioneer batch, to undertake research on the emergence of low-cost private schools in Indonesia.

This is an interesting subject as such schools have multiplied in poor countries across South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. They extend basic education to children and provide viable education alternatives to public schools for parents.

In Indonesia, some 36 million children are deprived of basic schooling. World Bank data shows that the primary school enrollment rate in poor districts is below 60%. So, is low-cost private schools the answer?

In a single field trip, CIPS Academy participants ventured out to some of the poorest districts around Jakarta and discovered 10 low-cost private schools with a total of about 2,500 students

Through interviews, they found out why parents send children to these schools, where the fee is between US$2 and US$10 a month. The reasons included insufficient places at public schools and the absence of documents such as an identity card, which is required for registration in public schools. A compilation of images and information on their findings can be seen here.

We are set to conduct further field work to shed more light on whether this is a sustainable way of providing basic schooling, thus offering children better opportunities to escape poverty.

Another topic of great concern is the haze from forest-clearing activities in parts of Indonesia. Millions across Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore choked under a pall of thick smoke from the fires set. Schools were ordered to close and air travel was disrupted several times.

Farmers still employ the slash-and-burn method to prepare land for the new planting season. The smoke has become an annual occurrence. This year, it was so bad that an Indonesian official called it a “crime against humanity”.

Indonesia’s efforts to put out the fires have proved futile. In any case, this only scratches the surface of the problem. We argue that the Government will need to address the root-causes of the issue.

It should consider the livelihood of the people who start these forest fires, reform the way forests are managed, and involve the private sector in conservation efforts.

Salam Hangat,
Rainer Heufers
Co-founder and Executive Director

I met one of the staff in Washington this week. Their inspiration is the work of Professor Tooley and others at the E G West Centre in Britain.

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9 Responses to Indonesian think tank promoting cheap and effective school education.

  1. Old School Conservative

    A low cost private school in Australia too? Think of the possibilities.

  2. Tintarella di Luna

    I think Marcellin Champagnat started some of those a couple of hundred years ago. In fact there were a few started here along the same lines though I guess these days he’d be rolling in his grave knowing that those schools are now teaching the sons of very wealthy men. But perhaps the poverty now is of the spirit not the purse.

  3. JohnA

    Low-cost private education?

    Used to be called “cheap Christian schools” or “home education”. Sometimes pejoratively “Catholic school system”.

  4. Infidel Tiger

    The Saudis already provide plenty of these private schools unfortunately. Any alternative would be very beneficial for us too.

  5. .

    The NSW Board of Studies thinks competition and low cost providers are a new idea.

    Setting up a “learning web” with a sliding scale of fees run by a tutor/private headmaster using kid’s parents as experts (accountants, solicitors, welders, chefs etc) would not be allowed.

    It is a managerial preference to basically refuse any new licence.

    They are a law unto themselves.

  6. wreckage

    Yes, the monopoly education provider, funnily enough, acts like a monopoly!

    Anyone would think that monopolies were run by humans and all humans tend to behave along the same broad lines, which is of course absurd!

  7. Tel

    Setting up a “learning web” with a sliding scale of fees run by a tutor/private headmaster using kid’s parents as experts (accountants, solicitors, welders, chefs etc) would not be allowed.

    Very much like the jealously guarded child minding monopoly.

    Force parents to use child care, then force government to pay for it… resulting guaranteed income for the protected industry. Very good business for some, not so good for others.

  8. .


    What you have described is simply theft.

    It is unfortunately how government came about, really.

  9. Tel

    Dot, the stationary bandits have some incentive to not destroy their own tax farm (they want to maintain an income stream). The roving bandits can take whatever they like and then do the old “loot n scoot” trick.

    Take note that child minding scam was some years ago, not exactly news, but vested interests of pocket stuffers aren’t exactly new either. Just that the similarity with the education industry and other types of centrally controlled industry is kind of interesting.

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