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Catholic schools given mentoring role in Indonesia

JAKARTA (CAN): Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta, and the Catholic University of Soegijapranata in Semarang, Central Java, are among 29 leading Indonesian educational institutions picked by the government of Indonesia to help underdeveloped universities improve education quality.
The move is part of government efforts to raise the standard of higher education in the country and improve the workforce.
The government wants the 29 universities to share knowledge the institutions they have been assigned to, not only on the academic front, but also with regard to administration and management.
Indonesia has more than 4,600 state and private colleges, many of which fail to offer anywhere near the same level of education as top tier institutions, critics say.
Franciscan Father Vincentius Darmian Mbula, an educational expert and chairperson of the National Council of Catholic Universities, welcomed the initiative, noting that many universities—including Catholic ones—are struggling to provide excellence.
“I hope this programme can improve Catholic colleges in Indonesia so that they can provide more graduates with excellent capabilities,” he said.
More than 20 Catholic colleges and four Catholic universities are regarded as being in the top tier according to the Education Ministry.
Elisabeth Rukmini, vice rector for Collaboration, Research & Strategic Planning at Atma Jaya Catholic University, said the university regarded the task as an honour, which showed that the government recognised the school as one of the best in Indonesia. 
She said Atma Jaya was to take four Catholic and Protestant colleges in East Nusa Tenggara province—where the quality of education remains a big issue—under its wing. 
“Our task is to help raise their standards,” Rukmini said, adding that the programme would last a year.
“We will also invite lecturers from East Nusa Tenggara universities to learn directly from us,” she said.
Soegijapranata Catholic University, meanwhile, has been handed the task of mentoring five institutions regarded as third tier schools.
“The government has assigned us five universities in Medan, North Sumatra, two of which are Catholic and the other three Protestant,” Agustinus Luwi Handoko, a lecturer, said. 
“Workshops will help improve their administration, management and accreditation process and we will also invite their lecturers to see how we do things at this university,” he added.
Education Ministry official, Aris Junaidi, said each mentor university will receive US$23,000 ($180,500) to go toward the programme.

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