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Rising tuition fees spark nationwide student protests

Jakarta Globe - May 14, 2024

Wijayanti Putri, Hendro Dahlan Situmorang, Dian Aprilianingrum, Jakarta – The issue of single tuition fees (UKT) has become a growing concern among students enrolled in state universities (PTNBH) nationwide.

Protests against the increase in tuition fees have erupted at various universities such as Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed) in Purwokerto, Sumatera Utara University (USU) in Medan, and Universitas Riau (Unri) in Riau.

On Monday, hundreds of students from Sebelas Maret University (UNS) Surakarta staged a demonstration in front of the university's rectorate building, expressing their discontent with the high tuition fees. They demand that the process of determining tuition fees to be conducted transparently with active participation from students.

In Riau, Unri Rector Sri Indarti officially withdrew her police report related to allegations of defamation made by her student, Khariq Anhar, on Monday. Previously, Sri Indarti reported her student for referring her as an "educational broker."

On April 29, hundreds of Unsoed students protested against the increase in tuition fees. The protest, held in front of the rectorate building, turned violent as campus security clashed with the protesting students who sought to meet the rector. The protesters ended up breaking windows and doors at the university's rectorate building.

Responding to the issue, Abdul Haris, Director-General of Higher Education, Research, and Technology at the Education, Research, and Technology Ministry, emphasized the importance of universities carefully and wisely determining tuition fees to strike a balance between students' willingness and ability to pay.

"The only way to mitigate this polemic is to ensure the principle of justice or fairness for all parties. Therefore, we have urged state universities to ensure that the principle of justice is fulfilled in setting tuition fees on campus," he told Beritasatu.com, a sister publication of the Jakarta Globe, on Monday.

"We believe that fundamentally all parties want to contribute the best to their alma mater," he added.

The government has granted state universities greater autonomy to raise funds independently and explore alternative financial sources beyond student payments. Moreover, the government encourages closer strategic partnerships between universities and the business and industrial sectors, leading to mutually beneficial resource sharing.

"The determination of the state university status is carried out carefully by the Ministry through a thorough and in-depth study to ensure the feasibility and readiness of universities to exercise broader autonomy, thereby enhancing competitiveness at the national and global levels," said the former Deputy Rector for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Indonesia (UI).

The study covers various aspects including the quality of academic implementation, contribution to development, effectiveness and efficiency of organizational governance, and the university's commitment to sustaining all these aspects.

Additionally, the Ministry continuously monitors and evaluates the performance of state universities to assess internal university governance performance and effectiveness.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/rising-tuition-fees-spark-nationwide-student-protest