Jakarta - Education and health sectors have continued to top President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono governments priorities while implementing policies and programs, the president said.
"Education is the most appropriate way to eradicate poverty, to boost the middle class, and to build a modern Indonesia in the 21st century," Yudhoyono noted in his state-of-the-nation address on Friday.
The president delivered his annual address during a joint session of the House of Representatives (DPR) and the Regional Representative Council (DPD) in conjunction with the 69th anniversary of Indonesian independence.
Yudhoyono expressed gratitude that education funds had reached more than 20 percent of the state budget. However, he pointed out that the budget surplus does not automatically guarantee the success of education.
"The most important thing is access to education and that education quality should be guaranteed at all levels," he remarked.
In a bid to support the education of children from impoverished families, the government has launched an innovative program of Bidikmisi scholarship that provides free tuition fees, plus stipend worth around 600 thousand IDR per month.
"As of now, more than 220 thousand students are eligible for the Bidikmisi scholarship program, and they have mostly made impressive academic and non-academic achievements," he stated.
He pointed out that by using the allocated budget for education, his government has prepared to offer scholarships to those keen on continuing their studies at the post-graduate and doctorate level at home or abroad.
"I believe that in the next 5-10 years, there will be thousands of master and doctorate graduates, a new generation from poor families," the president remarked.
They will be the ones who break free from the shackles of poverty, uplift the dignity of their families, and raise our national flag high above.
"This proves that our children, from any background, have incredible potential as long as they are given opportunities," he stated.