Block grants

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The aim of the block grant component of SGP was to help schools maintain

the quality of their program in the face of the sudden sharp rise in the cost

of school equipment and other essential items. Only registered public or

private schools were eligible to receive block grants, and all elite schools were

excluded. Block grants were only to be allocated to schools with minimum

levels of student enrollments. For schools in Java, this was set at 90 for

primary schools, 60 for lower secondary and upper secondary schools, while

in the outer islands minimum levels were slightly lower.

Surveys by CIMU have established that many schools would have found

it very diffi cult to survive and provide adequate educational services without

the grant. Most schools used some of the block grant they received to

purchase teaching aids and stationery (over 85 per cent) and to fund essential

maintenance of school buildings (over 85 per cent). Many schools (64 per

cent) also used some of the grant to assist those students who had not been

offered scholarships, usually with a scholarship-style fee relief (CIMU,

2000b: 13). By meeting the costs of some essential materials and some of

the shortfall in income from outstanding student fees, the block grant has

no doubt enabled some schools to keep fees lower than they would otherwise

have been. This may in turn have enabled more children to stay in school

(Jones and Hagul, 2001: 225–6).

In 2001, a second large-scale education assistance package was announced

to supplement the existing Scholarships and Grants Program. The new

program also had two components, Special Assistance for Students

 (Bantuan Khusus Murid) and Special Assistance for Schools (Bantuan

Khusus Sekolah), and was funded by the reduction in fuel subsidies that

had recently been introduced. The program was designed to complement

SGP and to operate in its place when that program ended in August 2003.

There have been no studies to date to evaluate the coverage and targeting

performance of these new programs.