Kudus, C Java - The Kudus district administration has set aside Rp35.4 billion to improve the infrastructure of 169 schools that incurred damage in the district area, Joko Susilo, the district government’s Education, Youth, and Sports Office head, stated.

Some 80 percent of the damaged educational institutions are elementary schools, while the remaining 20 percent are junior high schools, he informed journalists in Kudus, Central Java, on Thursday.

Improving educational infrastructure was part of the Kudus district administration’s efforts to offer conducive conditions for local teachers and students in classrooms.

Thus, teaching and learning processes in Kudus can run well, and good quality of education could be achieved, he noted.

The central government has vowed to focus on improving the quality of Indonesia's human resources in the midst of stiff competition among nations in this digital era.

The central government’s commitment is apparent from President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) statement on the bill on the state budget for the 2020 fiscal year and its financial note that he delivered at the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) plenary session on Aug 16, 2019.

Jokowi expressed belief that by improving the quality of human resources, Indonesia will be able to realize its vision of becoming a developed nation.

"Through such determination, the 2020 fiscal policy is drawn up on the theme of 'A State Budget to Accelerate Competitiveness through Innovation and Improved Quality of Human Resources,'" he told members of parliament at that time.

To realize Jokowi's noble ambition is indubitably no easy task since Indonesia is still struggling to tackle the problem of stunted growth among children, and the quality of its human resources also varies.

As the world's fourth most populous country, Indonesia has yet to rank on the list of the world's most literate nations.

John W. Miller's study (CCSU, 2016) demonstrates that Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Germany, Latvia, and the Netherlands are the top 10 most literate nations.

The study conducted by Miller, a noted researcher at the Central Connecticut State University, further revealed that Indonesia had ranked 60th out of the 61 countries. Its ranking was just better than that of Botswana though lagging far left behind Singapore that ranked 36th and Malaysia, at 53rd position.

His 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)" (2016).

Miller stated that a nation's literate behaviors contribute to its success and failure in dealing with the demands of the world's knowledge-based economics.

In terms of the quality of higher education, Indonesia also seems to lag far behind Singapore, whose leading universities have garnered esteemed positions of best universities at both the regional and international levels as compared to those of Indonesia. (ANTARA)


Health Checks Increased in Batam's Ports

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Batam, Riau Islands - The Port Health Office has heightened health checks at the international ports in Batam City, Riau Islands in an effort to anticipate the breaking of the Coronavirus. "In accordance with standards and regulations, we have been on alert for this case starting from early January 2020," said the Head of Batam's Quarantine Control and Epidemiology Surveillance, Romer Simanungkalit in Batam, Riau Islands, Wednesday.

It is necessary to heighten health security measures at all international ports in the city, as these are the entry points for hundreds of thousands of foreign citizens every month, he said.

One of the initial checks is done using thermal scanners that have been installed in all ports, Simanungkalit said.

Every inbound passenger must pass the thermal scanner and have their body temperature checked. If it is high, officers will carry out further checks.

There are two major symptoms that would make a person suspect of having contracted the Coronavirus, namely a fever and the flu, as well as a history of having been infected.

The Batam Port Health Office has 11 thermal scanner devices that have been activated at international ports, both air and sea, including Sekupang, Harbor Bay and Telaga Punggur Harbor.

Special measures have also been taken for passengers from China arriving at the ports.

"When there are passengers from China, all officers would don their masks," he said.

The office also alerted ambulances at ports for suspected passengers with the Coronavirus entering and requiring further action.

"We alert the ambulance, and coordinate with the Health Office if there are passengers who need to be referred," he added. (INE/ANTARA)


The plan to dissolve the Financial Service Authority (OJK) will only reduce the confidence investors have in Indonesia, Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) senior economist, Aviliani, said.

"This is dangerous for the confidence of investors since it gives the impression that we have no long-term confidence in the state institution," he said here on Wednesday

If OJK has not worked optimally to supervise financial institutions, both banks and non-bank financial institutions, then its supervision system must be strengthened and improved, she said.

"If a problem arises, we must think of how to improve the system based on inputs from the public. For instance, if most of the problems are found from non-bank (financial institutions), then the OJK's supervision system must be improved," she added.

"In my view, OJK has started to think of how to tighten non-bank financial institutions as it has done to the banking sector," she said.

Looking ahead, OJK needs to make better and clearer systems and regulations, including a regulation on whether or not an insurance company is allowed to manage investments, she said.

"This means that there are double the number of institutions allowed to issue products. So we must think of allowing insurance companies to focus on insurance businesses, including health and life insurance," she said.

Indef Executive Director, Eko Listiyanto, shared Aviliani's views, saying the plan to dissolve the OJK is not right. "It is not very relevant. What OJK needs to do is improve its supervision system," he said. (ANTARA)


Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin urged all partaking in this year's simultaneous regional election to promote a peaceful fiesta of democracy and avoid inflammatory statements and spread of hoaxes that may impinge upon national unity.

"We are optimistic of no issues of ethnicity, religion, race or societal group (SARA) and hoaxes arising that may become a source for triggering conflicts," Amin informed journalists at his office here on Wednesday.

Amin stressed on the need to enforce stringent legal sanctions on violators to prevent the surfacing of conflicts, triggered by factors linked to ethnicity, religion, race, or societal group.

He emphasized that political elites, especially those involved in the regional election, to be held simultaneously in nine provinces, 224 districts, and 37 cities on Sept 23, 2020, should not provoke their supporters.

"I think the political elites have been aware of the fact that we all belong to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). Hence, please avoid the issues of SARA. To this end, legal sanctions should be enforced," he stated.

Vice President Amin also highlighted the significance of imparting political education to the public at large as part of the combined efforts to build harmonious communities in Indonesia.

Political education can be disseminated at schools and discussion forums that can be accessed by community members to prevent them from being easily provoked by hoaxes and issues of SARA, Amin stated.

The proliferation of hoaxes, hate speeches, and slander has indubitably become a grave problem in Indonesian politics.

To address this problem, Head of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin has also reminded all societal elements of the importance of respecting diverse opinions held by citizens.

Syamsuddin opined that holding different perspectives and political preferences is acceptable, though he requested that none should spread blasphemy. (ANTARA)

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