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University students can volunteer for national defense program: Education ministry

Jakarta Post - August 18, 2020

Jakarta – The Education and Culture Ministry will allow university students to enlist in the military reserve component program proposed by the Defense Ministry, only if they are willing to voluntarily participate in the program.

The education ministry's higher education acting director general, Nizam, said the enlistment was stipulated in Law No. 23/2019 on the management of national resources for state defense.

"If they meet the requirements, the students will be awarded not only a graduation diploma but also a rank as a commissioned officer in the reserve force. However, it is voluntary," Nizam said on Monday as quoted by tribunnews.com.

In 2019, the Defense Ministry introduced the military reserve component program that aimed to recruit a total of 25,000 people aged 18 to 35. The reserves could be deployed to strengthen the Indonesian Military (TNI) in dealing with military threats, according to the 2019 law.

The law also stipulates that the enlisted personnel are required to undergo basic military training for three months.

Previously, Deputy Defense Minister Wahyu Sakti Trenggono proposed a plan to allow university students to join basic military training as part of the reserve program for a whole semester or six months. Their participation in the program could be included in their semester credit system (SKS), he went on to say.

"Later on, we will have millennials who are not only creative and innovative but who can also foster their love for the nation in their daily lives," Wahyu said on Sunday.

Nizam added that the education ministry had facilitated students in joining the military reserve component program through the Kampus Merdeka (Freedom Campus) policy, which gives universities greater freedom to establish new programs.

"We will also work with the Defense Ministry to hold leadership and state defense programs," said Nizam.

Human rights activists had slammed the military reserve component program, arguing that civilian militarization would result in human rights violations. They also raised concerns about regulations stipulating that reservists may face a maximum of four years' imprisonment if they refused to answer a call to service. (trn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/08/18/university-students-can-volunteer-for-national-defense-program-education-ministry.html