Why young people leave school early in Papua, Indonesia, and education policy options to address this problem

Lyn Parker, Lintang Sudibyo

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Abstract

This paper identifies the reasons children and young people leave school early in Merauke, Papua, and advances education policy initiatives to address these causes. Indonesia has a policy of 12 years of compulsory schooling, but many in Papua leave school early. The Indonesian government considers that children mainly leave school early for economic reasons, and addresses the problem through its social welfare programmes, as well as ‘supply- side’ factors such as the number of schools. This paper uses mainly ethnographic data, especially life histories collected from 22 young people and adults who left school early, to argue that besides economic reasons, the on-again- off-again history of schooling, the extremely problematic nature of that schooling, as well as socio-cultural causes such as the stigmatisation of the local Marind people, self-stigmatisation and cultural discontinuity, combine to push children to leave school early. Multiple initiatives are suggested to improve the quality of education.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
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DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2022

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