Jayapura, Jubi – The Papuan Student Association in the United States (IMAPA USA-Canada) again asked President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and the Papua provincial government to have a dialogue with them and find a solution regarding the termination of scholarships for several Papuan students abroad.
Papuan students abroad have expressed this concern for months now. “The scholarship termination is due to the issuance of Law No. 2/2021 on the Second Amendment to Law No. 21/2001 on Papua Special Autonomy or Otsus. Through the new Otsus Law, the government cut the rights of Papuan students abroad,” said IMAPA USA-Canada President Dimison Kogoya in a virtual conference on Saturday, April 9, 2022.
Kogoya said Papuan students in America, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia had tried to reach the government but to no avail. There has been no response from both the central government in Jakarta and the Papua provincial government.
“We hope that the government will immediately hold a dialogue with students from various study cities abroad. We must talk this through. The government cannot just terminate the funding assistance for our study,” he said.
Currently, there are hundreds of Papuan students studying abroad on the brink of being sent home.
“In the letter of termination of the scholarship to students, it is stated that the student who receives the letter is considered late in completing their studies until the end of 2021 and is asked to prepare for their return to Papua. That’s the government’s reason without looking at the students’ condition,” said Kogoya.
IMAPA USA-Canada advisor Anis Labene said that the scholarship termination had affected the students mentally and threatened their future.
“Most grantees come from lower middle-class families, this is something that the central government must pay attention to,” Labene said.
She said the Indonesian government must be wise in issuing policies because these students really wanted to finish their studies.
The reason Papuan students slow in finishing their studies
An aeronautical student at Embry-Riddle University in Oregon, United States, Daniel Game, revealed the reasons that made some students unable to complete their studies on time.
“Some students are late because sometimes, the government is slow in sending allowance for living expenses. When classes start, we automatically need to purchase books and other materials. Sometimes the delay in student allowance takes up to two weeks, three weeks, even a month, leaving us unable to buy the books we need, thus unable to finish our tasks. Not completing our tasks resulted in bad grades. Of course, that would delay our study,” he explained.
Game said another reason was the delay in sponsorship letters. This is a letter issued by the Papua Human Resources Development Agency.
“The letter states the ability of the Papuan government to finance Papuan students. The letter is a guarantee from the Papuan government to the campus. Well, this letter is sometimes delayed, I experienced it myself. In June-July 2019, I graduated from a community college, I wanted to continue to Embry-Riddle, it took a year and six months before I finally got my sponsorship letter,” he said. (*)