Kupang final stop for 2014 BSM programme media briefings

26 May 2014

A media briefing in Kupang became the final stop in a series of activities designed to promote the 2014 Cash for Poor Students (BSM) programme. The two-hour briefing was supported by the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K), and was attended by about 40 major media organisations in East Nusa Tenggara province.

Representing the Ministry of Education and Culture was Teguh Widodo, Kasubdit at the Directorate of Middle Schools, while Edy Lum, Directorate of Madrasah Education, attended for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ari Perdana spoke on behalf of TNP2K’s Policy Working Group. All delivered speeches to the media on the topic of "using the Social assistance card (KPS) to access the BSM programme".

The speakers highlighted the fact that many households that received a KPS card are failing to use it to access the BSM programme, thereby, hindering the government’s goal of breaking the cycle of poverty through education. In addition, a significant amount of BSM programme funds that should have been distributed by institutions have still not been received by student beneficiaries. During the session, the speakers repeatedly reiterated this and asked the media to help disseminate this information to the public.

Promotional activities for the BSM programme to the media began in May 2014 with events held in Jakarta, Bandung, Palu, Tanjung Pinang, Surabaya and, finally, Kupang. These cities were chosen based on the potential number of students per province who could access the BSM programme through their KPS cards. It is hoped that these activities will improve the dissemination of information to the public, and significantly improve the use of KPS to access BSM.

A key issue raised by media participants was problems linked to KPS membership. Ari Perdana answered by explaining that the KPS uses the Unified Database to improve its targeting mechanisms. "[As such], using the KPS is expected to improve the access of poor and vulnerable households to poverty reduction programmes provided by the government," he said.

Meanwhile, Widodo and Lum stressed the value of BSM programme benefits to students as well as the programme aims.

"BSM is a government programme that aims to help students from targeted households to meet non-infrastructural educational costs, such as transport and money to buy books and stationery," said Widodo.

Lum added: "Value of BSM programme benefits will help targeted households and ensure that no madrasa student will quit their education due to a lack of finances."