Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Which one should we sell? Culture or education?

by Berly

The Jakarta Post yesterday put out two interesting article that can be analyzed together.

The first is how finally Jakarta’s official start to get serious about cultural tourism and preserve the architectural heritage in Kota while at the same time makes it more convenient for tourist-wannabe to wander around. With train and Busway station nearby, it will reduce the need to drive through the legendary traffic jam of that area.

The second elaborated how the special admission route, in the past used to intended for smart students from remote areas of Indonesia, becoming more and more expensive. Want to study medical at Unpad? Just prepare Rp 150 million and you are can start cutting the corpses. But if fisheries are your pond (no punt intended) then Rp 7.5 million is sufficient. The ITB blue jacket with Ganesha symbol will set you back Rp 45 million. You still need to pass the special entrance exam though.

Let’s talk about the supply side. If the Kota area has been restored (a big if) then many people can enjoy the scenery and atmosphere at the same time without reducing other’s people enjoyment (hooligans and “ngamen”/begger aside). It will take a large number to reach overcrowding, but at special events/festivals (with ancient costume if possible) it is the crowd that draw more crowds.

But University seats are different. Assuming (as economist used to) the same number of lecturers, classes and faculty’s social facilities, then it will lead to decreasing rate of educational quality due to larger class less individual attention from lecturers.

There is also problem of noisy signal. Ever complain that what you study in (top) university did not really prepare you for work? Michel Spence has the answer and he got a Nobel Prize in Economics for it. it's not really matter what you study as long as mastering it signal your inner quality that will make you a productive worker once the company hired you. Graduating from top university used to be such signal in the past. There is possibility that companies (and society) will take a more careful look at Indonesian top universities alumni in the future.

The first case usually categorized as public goods and the second as private goods in economics. Restoring the architectural heritage increase enjoyment of people (local and tourists) but none of the individual building owners will take the step and finance it since they will get only very small part of the benefit. On the other side, the parents are willing to pay large amount since the expected benefit of university degree (I did not say education) will be felt mostly by their child.

Read more on tertiary educational financing in the analytical series by AP here, here and here. By the way, the article did not mention University of Indonesia. Anyone know what happened there?

1 comment:

pelantjong maja said...

sudah jelas kita tidak bisa menjual 'pendidikan'