Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Finance Minister Sri Mulyani recently revealed that the government has prepared a generous outlay of up to Rp 695.3 trillion ($46.5 billion) on the education sector for next year, reaching a historic high.
"In 2024, we will set aside between 643.1 trillion and Rp 695.3 trillion for the education sector. This is the highest education spending ever in Indonesia's history," Sri Mulyani said in a conference on Thursday.
The education budget stands at Rp 612.2 trillion in 2023. This marks a huge jump from the education spending in 2022, which reached Rp 472.6 trillion. In total, the annual government budget for next year will range between Rp 3,215.7 trillion and Rp 3,476.2 trillion.
"I was the National Development Planning Minister in 2004 and became the Finance Minister in late 2005. Back then, the entire state budget totaled Rp 495 trillion. And look here, we are allocating up to Rp 695.3 trillion for just the education sector," Sri Mulyani said.
"This shows how much our state budget and spending have grown. We hope to see all this spending will result in improved national development," the minister added.
Indonesia is aiming for better Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores after doing poorly in the 2018 survey. The PISA measures the 15-year-olds' ability to apply their reading, mathematics, and science skills in real-life challenges.
In the 2018 PISA survey, Indonesian 15-year-olds scored 371 points in reading literacy.
The government is targeting 396 points for reading literacy in 2024. Indonesia wants to improve its mean score in mathematics from 379 (2018 PISA) to 388 next year. The average performance in science stood at 396 points. The government hopes to see it go up to 402 points next year.
Indonesia's mean scores for all three skills are one of the lowest among PISA-participating countries, according to the 2018 survey.