Education in Papua Still a Concern

Students at highland of West Papua - Jubi/Victor Mambor
Students at highland of West Papua – Jubi/Victor Mambor

Yogyakarta, Jubi – Andy Tagihuma, literary activist and education observer in Papua, said education under the Dutch was much better than it has been since Papua became part of Indonesia.

“In the early 1930s, many books about Papua were published by the missionaries in Byak language. Then, a lot of books from the Malay language and then translated into Byak. The books were then distributed from Byak to Raja Ampat,” Andy said in a seminar organized by Papuan students on campus FISIPOL UGM on last week.

He continued, at that time the missionaries established a school to teach Papuan kids and the education system applied was very well . As a result the students at the time was far more clever.
“The system applied was very precisely by adjusting to the real condition and the needs of Papuans. However, it is far different since Papua became part of Indonesia since it applied national standard without seeing the real conditions in the field, including local social and cultural conditions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Max Binur, education practitioners from Papua in the same place, said the education system applied in Indonesia is actually not appropriate.
“So, I am with some friends begin to provide education about local knowledge, culture, art and anything that can motivate Papuan kids to know their own culture so they will have a sense of pride on their identity,” he added.

He added the issue of education is not just a matter of teaching and learning process but the more important issue is all about human resources.

Meanwhile, faculty of State University of Papua, I Ngurah Suryawan, said, there is an interesting phenomenon in Papua which is the removal of identity-Papua-an orderly and systematic fashion.

“To avoid that, education based on local wisdom becomes very important at this time. Through education children can recognize their Papuan culture and identity,” said Ngurah, doctoral candidate of the Faculty of Humanities at UGM Yogyakarta. (Arnold Belau)