Part 1 (of 4)
If I could, I’d place morally corrupt barstewards such as the Bakrie Brothers, Eka Tjipta Widjaja, oligarch-owner of Sinar Mas, and all those politicians and religious nutters whose ‘belief systems’ include corruption, exploitation and violence in the stocks. Their medieval purpose was to expose offenders to ridicule and mockery; passers-by were encouraged to throw mud, rotten eggs, mouldy fruit and vegetables, smelly fish, offal, and excrement (both animal and human) at those being punished.
However, I can’t, but I can pillory them, now used as a verb but with the same intent as the original physical punishment: to publicly humiliate.
The pillory at Charing Cross in London, c.1808.
The question I am pondering here is whether Putera Sampoerna should join them. I’ve pilloried him before, and his Putera Sampoerna Foundation (PSF) is on the defensive once again, but this time from the main media and for basically the same reason: the debt cycle with which they entrap the erstwhile financially disadvantaged students in the many educational institutions which come under the PSF umbrella.
I must point out that PSF has established ‘centres of educational excellence in Indonesia’, and a read of this page gives some confirmation of that.
Akademi Siswa Bangsa Internasional (ASBI) offers a holistic curriculum based on the Indonesian National Curriculum and 21st century learning that is supported by the Cambridge International Examination (International General Certificate of Secondary Education and International A Levels) and Advanced Placement (AP). All of our courses are in English. So when students graduate out of our school, they will be fluent in English and will qualify for any English-speaking university.
(It is to the government’s shame that in spite of 20% of the annual budget being allocated to the public education sector, it is the private sector which attempts to offer the best facilities, although not all necessarily the best education.)
ASBI emphasizes not only academic ability but also provides an educational experience at a world class standard that enables students to acquire and apply knowledge, concepts and skills. We equip our students with many different competencies including but not limited to: effective communication, collaboration and team work, decision making skills, problem solving and critical thinking abilities, creative thinking and the spirit of innovation information (eh?), media and technology literacy skills.
But, what is the ulterior motive of PSF? Why should the foundation be about “Creating leaders with vision and integrity”?
Education provides opportunity for children to reach their dreams. Unfortunately every four minutes, one kid has to dropout because of poverty. Putera Sampoerna Foundation’s initiatives give students a chance to be Indonesia’s future leaders.
Sampoerna Sponsored Students
“The brightest of the Poorest”
(Their uniform reminds me of the marines.)
I wanted to know more, so I watched this more than hour-long video, a paeon of praise and self aggrandisement . It starts with an introduction which praises Mr. Sampoerna as being “a true friend of America“, which is sure to raise the hackles of many of you. But then, the seminar* was sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) which “since 1962, has been dedicated to finding ways to sustain American prominence and prosperity as a force for good in the world. After 50 years, CSIS has become one of the world’s preeminent international policy institutions focused on defense and security; regional stability; and transnational challenges ranging from energy and climate to global development and economic integration.”
This is a.pdf file of Mr. Sampoerna’s speech in which he states the following: “Imagine the possibilities provided by thousands of American educated local scientists, scholars, public policy professionals, and business executives going back and contributing to the development of their home countries. Also consider what contribution the empathy of so many American-educated individuals towards their U.S. counterparts would bring towards our efforts to achieve peaceful co-existence. Peace and prosperity, you see, is actually less expensive than its alternative.
Isn’t it about time the paradigm shifted in U.S. international strategies: Instead of “Gunboat Diplomacy”, how about “Diploma Diplomacy” … How about shifting from the World’s Policeman to the world’s Educator?
If I am not mistaken, the ratio between the annual costs of supporting university students to soldiers deployed overseas in non-combat areas is 1:3.”
That might sound somewhat idealistic until you focus on what kind of “‘leaders” he’d like to breed: (local) American educated scientists, scholars, public policy professionals, and business executives.
Aren’t these the very same categories of folk who’ve got the planet in the mess it’s in?
The book referred to in the introductory remarks is Higher Learning, Greater Good the first book to systematically identify and develop the evidence necessary to measure comprehensively the benefits of higher education and to estimate their economic value. And that last bit would have been music to Putera Sampoerna’s ears!
It is not Improving Education Finance in Indonesia, published in 2002, which examines the then state budget allocation for and distribution to the country’s elementary schools which you can download from here.