Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1) Offensive training materials behind Indonesia’s decision to suspend military co-operation with Australia

2) More teaching volunteers needed in Indonesia’s rural, remote schools
3) Indonesia suspends military cooperation with Australia

1) Offensive training materials behind Indonesia’s decision to suspend military co-operation with Australia
JANUARY 4, 20176:20PM

IIndonesia has suspended its military co-operation over offensive training materials at an Australian special forces base. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

Staff writersNews Corp Australia Network
INDONESIA said Wednesday it has suspended military co-operation with Australia, reportedly due to training materials deemed offensive, in a fresh flare-up of tensions between the neighbours. 
Cooperation including military exercises and education and exchange programs were put on hold last month, said Indonesian military spokesman Wuryanto.
“Military co-operation with Australian forces has been suspended temporarily due to technical matters,” the spokesman, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.
Indonesian newspaper Kompas said it came after an instructor from Indonesia’s special forces found training materials he thought were disrespectful towards his country and armed forces at an Australian academy during an exchange program.
Wuryanto refused to confirm this, saying only that the suspension was due to several problems.
Marisa Payne, Minister for Defence, released a statement this afternoon saying the matter ouwl dbe investigated. She said the Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, wrote to his Indonesian counterpart, General Gatot Nurmantyo, promising Australia would look into the matter. He said the a report into the incident was being finalised.
The neighbours are key allies but the relationship has had many ups and downs. Ties sank to their lowest level in years under former Australian premier Tony Abbott due to rows about Jakarta’s execution of Australian drug smugglers and Canberra’s hard line policy of turning migrant boats back to Indonesia.
Indonesia had previously suspended military exercises with Australia, in 2013, due to allegations that Australian spies tried to tap the phone of then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but they resumed the following year.
Wuryanto said the Indonesian military sent a letter to the Australian Defence Force on December 9 notifying them of the suspension.
“Hopefully the problem will be resolved soon,” he said, adding that the Indonesian military was still in communication with the Australian forces.
It was the first serious row between the neighbours for some time, with relations having improved since Malcolm Turnbull became Australia’s leader in 2015.
2) More teaching volunteers needed in Indonesia’s rural, remote schools
Dita Nurtjahya 
A night owl and a lazy person who loves to travel and hates smelly armpit
Buluk, Papua | Fri, December 30, 2016 | 09:48 am

The children always went to school with a bright smile on their faces, notebooks in their backpack (or sometimes a plastic bag) and they were all barefoot. (JP/Dita Nurtjahya)

About 200 kilometers from the city of Merauke, Papua, there is a village named Bupul located at the borderline between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The area is very quiet as it is all forest and there is no electricity during the day; it is a peaceful village of mostly hunters and fishermen.
The villagers are financially poor; they have something to eat, but they have little money. I was given the opportunity by the local priest to volunteer over a month at the local elementary school. I taught them how to read and basic English at a military post nearby.

Bupul is located at the borderline between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, it is a peaceful village of mostly hunters and fishermen.(JP/Dita Nurtjahya)
Every day school started at 7:30 a.m. The children always went to school with a bright smile on their faces, notebooks in their backpack (or sometimes a plastic bag) and they were all barefoot. They did not own a single textbook, so the teachers had to explain the subject on a blackboard and the children had to copy it into their own notebook. Some of my students, even in fourth grade, could not read; they had to spell the words slowly in order to understand. Some of my third grade students could not write the alphabet in correct order. This became a problem whenever there was going to be an exam as the teacher had to read the exam materials.

The students from Bupul village, Papua, did not own a single textbook, so teachers had to explain the subject on a blackboard and the children had to copy it into their own notebook.(JP/Dita Nurtjahya)
Indonesia gained its independence in 1945. At the time, 95 percent of the population (70 million) was illiterate. There were only 92 high schools and five universities at the time.
Presently, 95 percent of people between 15-24 years old are literate, which is a huge accomplishment. Indonesia has been working very hard at improving educational quality since the 1970s and the number of students enrolled at any education level (elementary, junior and senior high) has been dramatically increased.
Since 2009, the government has allocated a fifth of its annual budget to the education sector. According to United Nations' statistics, Indonesia has been making great progress toward its educational goals in primary education for all children by 2015.
Education is one of the main methods of achieving a stronger and competitive nation. Limited access to education in rural areas and uneven distribution of qualified teachers are some the reasons why education in rural areas has been left behind. Ironically, almost half of Indonesians live in rural and remote areas, with a lack of roads, books, information, facilities and, more importantly, well-trained teachers. As a result, the opportunities offered to them are limited. They have to make do with the education that is offered in the local school. Their poor conditions and living situation far away from cities result in the children getting a poor education.

Despite the poor infrastructure, the children have a strong desire to learn.(JP/Dita Nurtjahya)
The children where I worked had a strong desire to learn. Some of them were great at mathematics. But sometimes they had to skip school in order to help their parents to hunt animals. Their parents and local people do not have a stable job to support their families. They hunt to provide food for their families.
As in any schools and government offices, it was a custom to have a flag-raising ceremony on Mondays. But during my stay at Bupul village, I never once experienced a flag-raising ceremony at the school. They never hosted a ceremony until the Army led by Second Lieut. Inf. Rendi Hardika Putera taught them how to conduct the ceremony. 
To overcome the need for well-trained teachers in rural areas, the government has to work with provincial and district officers to improve teacher quality. It also has to arrange some random visits to the rural schools in order to really understand what is happening. A volunteering program could be one of the solutions for now, but the government should publish and advertise it to attract more volunteers to get involved.
Bupul desperately needs more volunteers. And providing the children with access to knowledge from the outside will empower them to change their area in many ways in the coming years. (kes)

                                  Every day school started at 7:30 a.m.(JP/Dita Nurtjahya)

Currently pursuing a dream to become a Forensic Specialist at University of Technology Sydney, Dita continues her passionate work as a volunteer. She along with her friends founded a charity community called Pelangi Berbagi. Dita also volunteers at Earth Hour Yogyakarta, The Climate Reality Project, and Yayasan Kasih Anak Kanker Yogyakarta. The writer can be found at Facebook, Instagram, and Path at Dita Nurtjahja, also at Twitter @nurtjahyadita.


3) Indonesia suspends military cooperation with Australia
Ben Doherty @bendohertycorro 
Wednesday 4 January 2017 16.13 AEDT

Major general Wuryanto confirms split, but would not confirm it was over offensive material, saying suspension for ‘technical reasons’

Indonesia has suspended all military cooperation with Australia, reportedly over offensive materials displayed at an Australian military base where its troops were training.

The offensive “laminated material” shown at a base was insulting towards Indonesia’s five founding principles – Pancasila – Indonesian newspaper Kompas has reported. The Kompas report says a cable dated 29 December, sent by Indonesian military commander general Gatot Nurmantyo, instructed that all military cooperation, including training with the Australian Defence Force, be suspended.

Indonesian military spokesman major general Wuryanto has confirmed the split, but would not specifically confirm the reason, saying cooperation between the Australian and Indonesian militaries has been suspended for “technical reasons”, effective immediately.
“All forms of cooperation have been suspended,” he said. 
But Wuryanto suggested the suspension would not be long-term, saying cooperation could resume once the “technical matters” were resolved.

“There are technical matters that need to be discussed,” Wuryanto said, including the offensive training material seen at an Australian military base. It was “highly likely” cooperation would resume once those issues were resolved, he said.
Kompas reported that an instructor from Indonesia’s special forces group Kopassus felt insulted by material on display at a training base. The nature of the offensive material on display is not known, but it is understood to have been demeaning towards the Indonesian military.
Kopassus has trained for several years with Australia’s Special Air Service troops at the SAS base at Campbell Barracks, Perth. No time limit has been put on the suspension, and it is unclear whether future planned joint training exercises between the two countries will be affected.
Indonesia and Australia’s military relationship has improved in recent years, after an at-times troubled history.
The Lombok Treaty commits both countries to cooperation in the fields of defence, combating transnational crime, counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing. Australia has sold military hardware to Indonesia and defence and foreign ministers meet regularly.
However, relations were shaken in 2013 when it was revealed the Australian Signals Directorate attempted to monitor the phone calls of then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and senior officials.
News agencies contributed to this report

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