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Spelling Out the Problem

Government Estimates 28,111 Balinese Residents are Illiterate.

(4/15/2007) According to Tempo Interaktif, the Bali Government estimates that some 28.111 Balinese between the age of 15-44 years are functionally illiterate and have announced plans to help remedy this situation.

Bali's top Education Official, Tia Kusumawardhani, told Tempo Interaktif that the government has allocated Rp. 5.44 billion (approximately US$591,000) to address illiteracy on the island.

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) recently signed by the Indonesian Minister of Education, Bambang Sudibya; Bali's Governor Made Beratha; and Regents and Mayors from across Bali all pledged to allocate more funds to educational projects. Among the activities slated are the repair of damaged school building; enforcement of mandatory education through age 9 already written into law; and the reduction of illiteracy rates in Bali.

Although the MOU signed between Jakarta and Balinese officials only imposes a target of reducing the number of Balinese who cannot read and write by 6.555 people, the island of Bali has set a higher target for itself hoping to bring literacy to 9,450 of the now-illiterate before then end of 2008.