A flurry of recent reports have highlighted the toll that corruption is having on poor and developing countries like Indonesia, particularly in education. The research of Transparency International continues to highlight the pervasiveness of corruption in Indonesia. Indonesia is ranked 114/177 in the corruption index, or a score of 32/100; which is on the side of ‘highly corrupt’. Additionally, another survey by TI note that 93% of Indonesian’s believe the Police to be corrupt, 89% the parliament, 86% political parties, 86% judiciary, 79% the civil service, but most alarmingly, half (49%) of Indonesian’s believe education to be corrupted*.
One of the difficulties with such a pervasive culture of corruption, is that it is difficult to convey the destructiveness of corruption to the community. Despite Indonesia’s status as a middle developing nation with substantial economic improvements over the past decade, it has still got significant progress to make with respect to Indonesia's most vulnerable citizens.
- Around half of all Indonesian households survive on around $20 per month***
- Infant mortality is still more than 30 per 1000 live births (10 times that of Australia at 3/1000)***
- Next to rice, the second biggest household expense for Indonesian families is tobacco ( more than education or healthcare)^^^.
- Maternal mortality has risen 50% in the past five years^.
A recent report by anti poverty organisation One**, estimates that corruption kills 3.6 million people annually^^. The report notes that:
"Corruption inhibits private investment, reduces economic growth, increases the cost of doing business and can lead to political instability," the report says.
"But in developing countries, corruption is a killer. When governments are deprived of their own resources to invest in health care, food security or essential infrastructure, it costs lives and the biggest toll is on children.
Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) reported that an audit by Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) revealed that six out of 10 schools in a sample of 3,237 schools misused education funds. ICW identified corruption was mostly derived from funds allocated for scholarships, school rehabilitation, teacher salaries and benefits, book procurements, and university facilities and infrastructure. It was estimated that losses worth more than $50 million were corrupted through these channels. Another report by Transparency International, said one in six students around the world had been asked for a bribe in the course of their studies, which is in line with numerous reports from Indonesia.
Last week, a unique new portal aimed at fighting corruption in education systems around the world, was launched by the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO). Surveys carried out by IIEP partners tackling corruption, estimate that the salaries of absent or ghost teachers may account for 15-20% of payroll costs in some countries, as also identified by ICW.**
The pervasiveness of corruption in education extends to students as well. There are thriving industries related to the purchase of university degrees or theses, which can be readily purchased without ever having to attend a class or undertake any research whatsoever. Suppliers claim to be able to provide a legal academic transcript and degree certificate that is even registered with the Indonesian Ministry of Higher Education (DIKTI) for as little as $850. You can see for yourself: http://buatbeli-ijazah-s1.blogspot.com
Its a sad state of affairs, and one that urgently needs to be addressed by Indonesia’s new and incoming government. More needs to be done to highlight the significant losses of life that this continuing corruption is ravaging on Indonesia. The World Health Organization estimate that more than 250,000 Indonesian's die from tobacco related illnesses each year. The life expectancy of an average Indonesian male is almost 25 years less than a Japanese male. Infant mortality rates are around 30/1000 and maternal mortality has risen from 220/100,000 births in 2010 to 359/100,000 births in 2012^, about the same period in which provincial governments systematically robbed education, health care and social aid budgets.
A 2014 report by A.T Kearney estimates that Indonesia loses around $4 billion per year in procurement graft, which is roughly equal to 40 years of operating expenses for Indonesia's 32,000 schools.~ So far this year, Indonesia has seen several senior judicial and political figures indicted, charged, or convicted of corruption. These have included the chief of the Constitutional Court, Sports and Youth Affairs minister, the Democratic Party Chairman, The Energy and Resources Minister, The Religious Affairs minister, and numerous regional and provincial leaders.
The hope in all this, is the momentum within the community for change, and a growing intolerance of corruption, particularly in education. Corruption that robs Indonesian young people of knowledge, information, and a future with more opportunities and possibilities, is an insidious, and heartbreaking reality in Indonesia. It is an eminently fixable problem however, and the solution is most likely going to come from the community, rather than their political representatives.
Please watch this brief movie and continue be ever vigilant in whatever role you play in education in Indonesia.