As school costs rise, private foundations and banks are chipping in to help more students access education.
At the Sampoerna Academy, an international-class school network with facilities across the country, 136 of the 150 newly enrolled junior high students accepted a full scholarship from the Putera Sampoerna Foundation this year.
“For us, education development is not solely the government’s responsibility, but it’s everyone’s, the public and the private sector,” said Nenny Soemawinata, the foundation’s managing director.
Irma, a private school teacher whose son Abu Hanifah received one of the foundation’s scholarships, called on the private sector to continue increasing its role in country’s education sector.
“There are many smart people who have no access to education or a good school,” she told the Jakarta Globe while accompanying her son in Bogor on Saturday.
Sampoerna academies were established in 2009 in several regions around the country, including in Malang, East Java; Palembang; Bali and Bogor.
To keep the schools running, the foundation collaborates with several private companies and state-owned enterprises.
State-owned Bank Mandiri has worked with the foundation for two years to help students from underprivileged families pay for their education.
This year, the bank set aside Rp 1.375 billion ($146,000) for scholarships, bringing the total amount of scholarship funds to Rp 5.5 billion since last year.
“We posted a Rp 12.2 trillion profit last year and we set aside some of that for the Putera Sampoerna Foundation,” said, Ogi Prastomiyono, Bank Mandiri’s director for compliance and human capital.
Nenny said the Putera Sampoerna Foundation had developed a holistic education system that aimed to develop positive character traits, leadership skills and entrepreneurial thinking.
The foundation prioritizes accepting high-achieving students from underprivileged families.
The students undergo a selection process that includes academic testing, psychological testing, an interview and a focus group discussion.
Those enrolled at the school in Bogor come from 21 provinces in the country.
Hanifah, who is from Palembang, will study and live in a dormitory in the West Java city for the next three years.
“If you want to make your dream come true, some things have to be sacrificed,” Irma advised her son Hanifah as he prepared to live far away from his parents.