The Childhood and Children in Raja Ampat
The Childhood And Children in Raja Ampat – Raja Ampat in West Papua is considered a piece of paradise in the world. So, it attracts tens of thousands of tourists to explore the beauty of the underwater world every year.
But, in the midst of the global tourism uproar. Some of Raja Ampat’s children struggle to navigate the sea. And live a limited life for education.
“I am proud to be born as a Papuan child. But, our lives are difficult, learning to death using lamps. Far from parents and having to live in lodgings.”
The phrase was expressed by Felix Togarman Burdam. A grade IX student at SMP Negeri 27, Kampung Samate. Salawati Utara District.
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The Childhood And Children in Raja Ampat can be seen in Felix. He is one of 15 children from Soop Island who are now forced to migrate. To Samate to continue their education.
In Soop there are only primary school facilities. The nearest junior high school that can be reached by Felix and children his age is in Samate. A distance of about 90 minutes. By sea using a 15 pk motorized boat. Without a safety buoy.
In islands such as Raja Ampat. Cruising the sea is the only way to move.
The Childhood And Children in Raja Ampat immensely affected. By the economy condition of the people in Raja Ampat.
Just like Felix and his friends have to commute. From the Soop to the school in Samate on an engine boat every day. Their parents are unable to buy kerosene fuel every day.
Moreover, said Felix, Soop’s children prefer to go to Samate. Rather than to Sorong. Because, there are no tuition fees. Avoiding expenses is a rational choice. For those who come from lower economic class families.
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Settled in Lodgings
“We settled in lodgings. So, there was no need to spend the cost of going to school. Just walk.” Felix said.
Most of the villages in Raja Ampat now do have an elementary school. However, advanced education facilities are only in a few district capitals.
A few years ago, a number of parents in Soop took the initiative. To build a wooden and bamboo hut at the end of the village of Samate. The location is right on the seafront. And a little distance from the settlements of the villagers.
The 2 × 3 meter temporary dwelling house stands on the merits. Of a number of Samate residents who are willing to lend their land.
Felix and a dozen of his friends settled in seven adjoining lodges.
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The Childhood And Children in Raja Ampat are. Also, shown on the temporary dwellings were live. Without electricity.
Only two lodgings received free electricity loans. From the church opposite them.
Simple accommodation that also does not have a bathroom.
Like Felix, the children of Soop can only wash themselves on the beach or church wells.
“There is no electricity in the cottage. If you study at night, your eyes hurt.” Said Felix.
“We take drinking water from wells or rain water. But turbid well water. If cooked there is pulp.” He said.
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Achieve My Goals
However, Felix’s intention to welcome the future did not falter. Even though he had to live in a very limited area on an overseas island.
“I have no problem staying away from my family. Because, I want to make my parents proud. And I want to continue going to school. So, I can achieve my goals.” Said Felix.
“I do not want to be a fisherman like you. He works half to death. The more difficult to find fish. A week after returning from the sea,” He said.
Felix is one of the few children of Raja Ampat. Who was fortunate to be able to receive formal education. Felix’s older sister, Almirius Trison Burdam. For example, did not graduate from elementary school.
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Almirius is now fishing like his father. Or just staying at home when the weather is bad.
Meanwhile, Felix’s second brother is currently in high school. And is being entrusted to his relatives in Kampung Dorehkar, Ayau Islands. The outer regions of Indonesia in northern West Papua.
“I want the children to continue schooling. But, if you don’t go out to sea. There is no money. No one can guarantee them.” Said Persila Falon. Felix’s mother.
“If there is money, Felix can continue, If there isn’t, he will just sit at home. It all depends on you. Whether you can work or not. Your health is being disturbed.” Said Persila.
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The bad economy is another challenge faced by Felix. And his colleagues overseas. In 2018, half the population of Raja Ampat (53.88%) was the recipient of poor rice. Prosperous rice and non-cash food aid.
At least that was said by Lince, one of the three Soop student hostels in Samate.
“If there are side dishes they eat fish. If not, just empty rice with tea. And if their fathers come to the hut. They can eat well.” He said.
“I take care of them with only prayer. The children are still in the spirit of school. But, their parents don’t know. They are not well guarded.” Said Lince.
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Raja Ampat consists of about 300 islands. Which stretch across an area of 46,108 square kilometers. This area is 69 times bigger than DKI Jakarta. Or 29 times the area of London.
Raja Ampat Regency Government claims 27,000 tourists. Came to their area in 2017. The number is said to continue to increase.
Raja Ampat is claimed to be the heart of the world’s coral triangle. And the center of the world’s marine biodiversity. One reason is that 70% of the world’s coral species are. In the Raja Ampat ocean.
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One of The Lowest
Even so, the entire title was considered contrary to the face of Raja Ampat’s education.
Referring to the Central Statistics Agency data. The pure participation rate of Raja Ampat at the junior. And senior high schools is one of the lowest in Indonesia.
The net enrollment rates for SMP and SMA in Raja Ampat were 51.52 and 44.86, respectively.
Meanwhile, the population in the islands on average only 7.57 years of formal education.
Until 2019, there were only 109 elementary schools and 36 junior high schools in all of Raja Ampat. In fact, there are 170 villages in the district.
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According to Bambang Purwoko, an UGM academic who has been researching Papua’s education issues for decades. The condition is sad.
The reason, he said, was that West Papua and Papua had large sources of budget. One of which was from the special autonomy fund (Otsus).
“Problems that continue to exist, scattered residential areas are called difficult. For local governments to build educational facilities near settlements.” said Bambang.
“Papua has a very large special autonomy fund. So far, we have not seen the extent to which the allocation. Can increase access and availability of education, including in Raja Ampat.” He said.
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However, the Head of Raja Ampat’s Education Office, Juariah Saifuddin. Said his institution did not get an abundant budget allotment.
The funds they hold were later more focused on procuring learning facilities. Such as sports equipment, computers, and the construction of teacher’s homes.
“How do you build a junior high school in every village. If there are a lot of six elementary school students. In a maximum of only 20 people?” Juariah said.
“There are budget limitations, even if we propose as much as possible. It will not be accommodated as a whole.” he said.
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Comparison of access to education of Raja Ampat past and present. Explained Benyamin Fiyai, Samate 47 Junior High School teacher. Like Felix and some of his students. He used to have to navigate the sea for education.
Benyamin said, he was obliged to take the elementary school final exam in Kabare. An area five hours away by sea from his village in Dorehkar.
At that time, said Benjamin, the Raja Ampat government had not yet created. A free primary education program. Because, his father was a civil servant medical officer. Benjamin was better off than his friends of his age.
During middle school, Benjamin migrated to Kabare on Waigeo Island. One of the four largest islands in Raja Ampat.
Because, of his family’s stable economy, said Benyamin. He was able to continue up the high school level in Sorong. Then study at Cenderawasih University in Jayapura, Papua.
“At that time the cost of education was one of the main issues. We have to stay with relatives. Some of our friends are building a cabin in Sorong.” He said.
Since 2007, Benjamin who is now also a civil servant like his father. Has been assigned as a teacher at Samate. Since then he has also been through other struggles.
Not as a student. But, as an educator in Raja Ampat.
Because, working as a teacher in Samate. Benyamin had to separate temporarily from his wife who worked in Timika.
Once in six months, Benny goes from Samate to Timika to meet his wife and children. He needs to take three days by boat or 60 minutes by air from Sorong.
“Away from family is a formidable challenge. A struggle. But, I have committed to be a teacher.” He said.
“After the second child was born, there was a deep longing. The only way is the telephone. So, every night I have to pass through the dark forest. To hear the voice of my wife and children. That’s all longing for me medicine.” Said Benjamin.
In Samate, Benjamin lived in a house with two of his teacher colleagues. In that village there was no telecommunications signal.
To communicate with the outside world. He must walk about 45 minutes to the beach, the only signaling location in the village.
The question now, is there a solution to the problem of education in this archipelago?
“The Childhood And Children in Raja Ampat can be improved better in “Boarding School.” Said Bambang Purwoko from UGM.
According to him, the Raja Ampat Regency Government needed to open. Aboarding school from the junior high school level. He was sure that the special autonomy fund was sufficient to finance this school.
“The special autonomy fund can be built. With educational facilities that allow rural children. Or islands to go to school comfortably.”
“There were a number of boarding schools managed. By the regional government. But, because they were not heeded, they ultimately failed.” Said Bambang.
“The key to boarding schools is care. And this must be run by people who are devoted to service.” He said.
The Raja Ampat local government did not dismiss. The construction of a boarding school as one of the strategies. To bring education closer to the children of the archipelago. But the problem is, again about the budget.
“There was a boarding school education in Raja Ampat. But, apparently it was closed due to operational problems. We cannot pay for students to eat every day. The funds needed are quite large” Juariah said.
In the midst of all the educational obstacles in Raja Ampat. Benyamin Fiyai was determined to devote his energy to campaigning. For the importance of attending school.
According to him, teachers need to knock on the door of parents’ homes. To ensure how vital education is to children.
“A better future can only. Be achieved with education. I always say that children go to school. Until they are bored.”
“Everyone in the world believes. Education is the only way to change lives.” He said.
What About Persila?
And what about Persila, Felix’s mother, who never graduated from elementary school.
And was unable to read or write.
“Education is good. So, that children have a future. I didn’t go to school so they had to go to school. Let’s eat half to death. As long as they go to school.” he said.
And the struggle for education in the midst of difficult conditions. Is also in the hands of Felix and Raja Ampat young people.
“I want to get a school scholarship out of the area. I have no doubt.”
“If I don’t succeed in becoming a soldier. I want to become a teacher. In the village there is a teacher. But he commutes from Sorong.” Said Felix.