Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Provincial Government claims to have distributed scholarship funds, or paid tuition fees and sent allowances for 355 Papuan students who are studying abroad.
Hundreds of Papuan students are spread across five countries, namely 204 students in the United States, 68 students in Australia, 7 students in Japan, 17 students in Canada, and 59 students in New Zealand.
Head of the Papua Human Resources Empowerment Agency (BPSDM) Aryoko F. Rumaropen said the payment was sourced from an allocation of Rp 300 billion in reserve funds belonging to the Papua Provincial Government.
The payment was made after the Papua Governor through the Regional Secretary of Papua ordered the BPSDM to prepare administrative documents related to the payment of the students' education and living expenses.
"We have been waiting for four months regarding the disbursement of the Special Autonomy funds. It was only available on Monday (April 25)," he said. Without waiting for the Special Autonomy funds, the Papua Provincial Government has taken another policy by using its reserve funds.
"We use the reserve funds to pay for the education and living costs of Papuan students in the five countries," he said.
Rumaropen explained that the payment process was carried out in stages starting Friday, April 22, 2022. The first payment was made to Papuan students in Japan, then for students in New Zealand on Monday, April 25; for students in Australia on Tuesday, April 26; and for students in the United States and Canada on Wednesday, April 27.
"Within this week, all the problems of delayed scholarship funds for Papuan students abroad will be resolved," said Rumaropen to reporters in Jayapura on Tuesday. Previously, Papuan students overseas were worried about not being able to finish their studies due to the delay in tuition fees and student allowances following the issuance of the new Special Autonomy Law, which also amended the provision of Special Autonomy Funds used to finance their studies.
Rumaropen said the payment system for students studying abroad varied in each location of study, namely per four months (quarterly), per six months (semester), and per year.
"We pay according to the bill from the campus. For example, in the United States, we pay quarterly. In Australia, we pay per semester and in New Zealand for one year," he said.
Papuan student in Japan Meylani Ramandai said she did not know yet that the Papua Provincial Government had already paid their tuition fees. She said she still needed to confirm with a third party, or the Papuan student management agency in Japan regarding the news.
"Let me confirm the news first thing tomorrow," Ramandai told Jubi on Tuesday.