As many as 250,000 students in Jakarta may lose their academic subsidies after the Jakarta Regional Legislative Council rejected the city administration’s request for a larger budget for the Jakarta Smart Card program.
The smart card program is a component of the larger or Kartu Jakarta Pintar (KJP), an education aid program designed to help underprivileged students in Indonesia’s capital city. According to the Jakarta Education Agency, the city council rejected a request to increase the budget for the program from $68 million $111 million.
As reported by the Jakarta Globe, the KJP program was introduced in 2012 to provide a monthly allowance to students at risk of dropping out of school. The additional funds were intended to provide financial assistance for some 573,000 underprivileged students in the capital, but following the denial of additional funds that number will drop to 309,585.
With the aid of a Bank DKI ATM card, the Jakarta Smart Card program grants student cardholders a monthly academic allowance, with elementary school students receiving $15.38 per month, junior high school students $17.94 and high school students receiving the maximum $20.50. Students could use the allowance to purchase necessary books, school uniforms as well as pay for public transportation.
More than 3,000 cards were distributed during the program’s initial launch in December 2012, with the Jakarta administration planning to distribute around 6,300 more credentials by the end of that year. By next year, the city had initially aimed to issue cards to some 332,000 students from 15 public and 98 private schools.
The Smart Card program looks in jeopardy, however. The city allocated $66.5 million for just 699 students in 2013. There are concerns that the program cannot sufficiently support the underprivileged students in the capital, making the disbursement of subsidies via a smart card credential surplus to requirement.