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University tuition hike cancellation, observer: 'A populist decision but won't solve problems'

Tempo - May 30, 2024

Hendrik Yaputra, Jakarta – Education observer from Semarang State University (UNNES), Edi Subkhan, said the cancellation of the tuition hike is the government's populist step. According to him, President Joko Widodo or Jokowi wishes to avoid making unpopular policies at the tail end of his term.

Thus, Jokowi requested the Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Nadiem Makarim to cancel the tuition hike policy. "Politically, this decision is populist and pleases many people, but does not solve the fundamental problems," Edi Subkhan told Tempo on Wednesday.

Edi believes this cancellation is temporary and is likely to be reinstated next year. Cancellation of the hike itself does nothing to resolve the fundamental problem.

Tuition hikes for university students entered the conversation since the government established a policy for State Universities with Legal Entities (PTN-BH). Campuses with PTN-BH status have their share of funding from the government reduced. "The proportion of government funding does not increase for PTN-BH, and even tends to decrease," said Edi.

With insufficient government funding, the PTN-BH campuses are free to tinker with the student tuition rates. This freedom is regulated in Ministerial Regulation No. 2 of 2024 concerning operational costs of higher education.

Previously, President Joko Widodo summoned Nadiem Makarim, to the Presidential Palace on Monday, May 27, 2024. After the meeting, Nadiem said he would cancel the UKT increase this year.

"We at the Ministry of Education and Culture have decided to cancel the tuition increase this year and will reevaluate all requests from universities to increase the tuition rate. So, no students will be affected by the tuition hike," said Nadiem.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1873799/university-tuition-hike-cancellation-observer-a-populist-decision-but-wont-solve-problem