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Cablegate: Ambassador Visits Key Presidential Initiative and Meets

VZCZCXRO6172
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2545/01 2560219
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130219Z SEP 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6215
INFO RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0781
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4303
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1154
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4188
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002545

SIPDIS

STATE FOR U/S JEFFERY
STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EB/IFD, INL BOULDIN
DOJ FOR AAG BRUCE SWARTZ, OPDAT FOR LEHMANN/ALEXANDRE
MCC FOR AMBASSADOR DANILOVICH AND MORFORD
DEPT PASS USTR FOR AMBASSADOR PORTMAN
TREASURY FOR IA - BAUKOL
USAID FOR ANE/AA WARD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AIDAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV ECON ID
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR VISITS KEY PRESIDENTIAL INITIATIVE AND MEETS
SULTAN IN YOGYAKARTA


JAKARTA 00002545 001.8 OF 002


1. Summary: On August 28-29, Ambassador Hume visited Yogyakarta,
touring schools and meeting local leaders. The Ambassador visited
public and private schools that receive USAID assistance under
President Bush's $157 million Education Initiative for Indonesia.
The Ambassador met with Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, Governor of
Yogyakarta Province, who reiterated his intention to relinquish the
governorship, although the GOI has yet to determine the transition
process. The Ambassador also met with local government officials in
Klaten, home of the four USAID-supported schools, who expressed
their appreciation for USG educational assistance. End summary.

Ambassador visits USAID-supported schools
-----------------------------------------
2. Pesantren Sunan Pandanaran in Sleman, which has taken part in the
USG-financed Islamic leaders' exchange program, extended a warm
reception to the Ambassador. Sunan Pandanaran is renowned for its
strong program in memorizing the Koran. The Ambassador addressed the
pesantren's 1,000 students, ranging in age from kindergarten through
senior high school.

3. The Ambassador toured both public and private schools in
Yogyakarta, learning about the differences in school curriculum and
financing. He visited teachers, students, and the parents'
committee of Public Elementary School Barenglor 2, a school that has
benefited from the USAID Decentralized Basic Education (DBE)
program. DBE is projected to reach at least 2,000 schools in 100
districts in 8 provinces by 2010. The Ambassador also toured
private schools receiving DBE assistance, including a
religiously-affiliated elementary school and a state-run junior high
madrasah, which also rely on financial and in-kind support from the
community, parents, and a private foundation. The Ambassador
discussed DBE curriculum selection with a student, who expressed
pleasure with her ability to determine her course selection and
educational material. The Ambassador noted that changes in
curriculum selection over the past ten years have made the process
more open and student-driven.

Schools recovering from earthquake damage
-----------------------------------------

4. The Ambassador met with parents' committee members from
DBE-supported, state-run Gondangan elementary school that was
severely damaged during the 2006 earthquake. Thirteen of the
USAID's 14 DBE-supported schools required almost total
reconstruction after the earthquake. A consortium of oil companies
including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and BP funded the
reconstruction of Gondangan elementary school. The DBE program
funded a temporary bamboo shelter and relocated students during the
reconstruction. The parents' committee noted the school's
infrastructure problems, stating that the school would not have been
rebuilt so quickly without private resources.

Local officials describe DBE as a model
---------------------------------------

5. On August 29, the Ambassador met with Klaten district-level
officials, the Head of the District Education Office, a Regional
Religious Affairs Official, and members of the provincial
legislature. The officials thanked the Ambassador for U.S.
Government support for local education, yet acknowledged that this
assistance could not reach every school. The education official
described the DBE education system as a model for all schools and
stated that his challenge was to recreate the 'active learning'
approach in DBE schools throughout the province.

Sultan to leave politics, transition undetermined
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. The Ambassador met with Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who also
serves as Governor of Yogyakarta Province. The Sultan announced in
April that he would retire in 2008 as Governor of Yogyakarta

JAKARTA 00002545 002.2 OF 002


province. He told the Ambassador that he intended to step down from
the governorship at the end of his term, which he stated would occur
in two years. The Sultan's announced departure from political office
has accelerated efforts to identify a new gubernatorial transition
process. The GOI is considering three different bills outlining ways
to handle elections and the Sultan's future management role in the
province are currently being discussed by the GOI. It is unclear
whether the Yudhoyono administration will endorse any of these bills
before the Sultan departs. The Sultan stated that the governorship
and the role of the Sultan should be separated, which would be a
historic change. The Sultan noted the most important criteria in
determining a gubernatorial candidate's suitably was his commitment
to anti-corruption reform.

Reform in process in Yogya
--------------------------

7. Comment: The DBE program creates classrooms that foster
creativity and inspire independent thinking and curiosity in
students. The DBE program is addressing GOI reform priorities and is
already achieving program objectives. Politically, the Sultan's
upcoming departure from the governorship potentially opens a
political vacuum, but also demonstrates further Indonesian progress
in democratic reform.?


Ambassador's Comment
--------------------
8. President Bush's Education Initiative is having a profound impact
on schooling here, and it is enthusiastically supported by parents,
students and teachers. From every aspect this program is a winner.


End comment.

HUME

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