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The story of Tina, a Papuan native who studies abroad thanks to the Papua Special Autonomy Fund | by Ricky T.

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Ricky T. | Papuan Observer

A native Papuan girl feels lucky to be one of the first dozen people to be sent to Australia to pursue undergraduate studies at the expense of the local government.

Asna Kristina Krebu was born to a couple who works as an elementary school educator in Dosay Village, West Sentani District, Jayapura Regency.

 

“Without the special autonomy fund, I would never have had that opportunity because I grew up in a family where both my parents were only elementary school teachers.”

“So the opportunity to study abroad is impossible, impossible, because of the high cost of studying abroad if you pay for it yourself,” said Tina.

The special autonomy fund or special autonomy fund referred to by Tina is the central government’s grant assistance to the provincial governments of Papua and West Papua who have special autonomy status.

Originally mandated in Law Number 21 of 2001 concerning Special Autonomy for the Papua Province, the legal umbrella was revised into Law Number 35 of 2008 to also cover the Province of West Papua.

Twenty years since the implementation of Otsus Papua, the law has undergone another revision which is now Law Number 2 of 2021. The budget allocation for Otsus Papua and West Papua is set at IDR 8.5 trillion in the 2022 Draft State Revenue and Expenditure Budget (RAPBN).

The priority areas of the special autonomy fund are providing the basic needs of education, health, and people’s economic empowerment. Recently, the central government has also made general allocations, among others, for the development and improvement of the welfare of indigenous Papuans and strengthening customary institutions.

In its implementation in the field of education, the special grant funds were used, among other things, to finance the tuition of Papuan children such as Tina.

Tina took part in the scholarship selection in 2007 when the then regent of Jayapura, Abel Melkias Suwae, pioneered sending students abroad. Due to insufficient English skills, Tina and other participants were enrolled in an intensive course in Bali.

Even though they have been honed for months, not all participants managed to pass the minimum score required for study abroad so they were sent to universities in Java. Meanwhile, around 13 people who met the requirements, including Tina, were sent abroad in 2009 as the first batch.

He majored in international studies at the University of Canberra and received his bachelor’s degree from the university based in the Australian capital in 2011.

There are many direct benefits that he can get by studying abroad. The first benefit, according to Tina, comes from understanding the cultural differences between Papua in particular and Indonesia in general and Australia. There are many direct benefits that he can get by studying abroad. The first benefit, Tina admits, comes from understanding the cultural differences between Papua in particular and Indonesia in general and Australia.

Tina said that the positive experience had a practical impact on everyday life in an increasingly diverse Papua.

Based on the 2020 population census, the population of Papua is 4.3 million people. Only 2.3 million of them fall into the category of indigenous Papuans or OAP. The rest are residents of other parts of Indonesia, as well as their descendants.

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