Decentralization and human development in Indonesia: A case study of special autonomy of Papua Province

Author: Yadi Hadian

Hadian, Yadi, 2019 Decentralization and human development in Indonesia: A case study of special autonomy of Papua Province, Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

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The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of special autonomy on human development in Papua Province, Indonesia, particularly on education and health outcomes. As a special autonomy region, Papua Province has been granted more authority and financial capacity than other regions in Indonesia. This research explores the role of provincial and local governments in Papua Province in managing their education and health responsibilities to improve human development.

This research applies qualitative methods and adopts a case study approach using a combination of primary and secondary data. The primary data was collected by conducting in-depth interviews with participants from government, parliament and civil society organisations, as well as education and health workers. The secondary data were collected from publications, reports and other related sources. This research also examines the statistical data and perceptions of participants toward education and health outcomes after special autonomy.

This research found a positive impact on human development in Papua Province since special autonomy, but at a slower pace compared to other Indonesian provinces. Furthermore, there are huge differences in human development between the coastal and highland areas in Papua Province. The highland areas, where around 98% of the population are indigenous Papuans, have a much lower HDI. This research also found that the provincial government and local governments in Papua Province have been unable to use their authority and financial capacity effectively to improve human development, particularly in the education and health sectors. Although special autonomy was granted in 2002, Papua Province only enacted regulations for the education and health sector in 2013. As a result, after more than 15 years of special autonomy, Papuan provincial and local governments have only a few specific programs to tackle the education and health issues of indigenous Papuans. The provincial and local governments struggle to reach the spending targets from their special autonomy fund for education and health sectors stipulated in the Law 21/2001.

This research also found that provincial and local government officials in Papua Province lack administrative capabilities to deliver services, manage financial resources, and have insufficient human resources to provide leadership and skilled personnel. Several other factors have contributed to education and health outcomes in Papua Province, particularly in the highland area. The first is the unequal distribution of education and health workers. The second is high levels of absenteeism among education and health personnel. This is connected to a third factor, namely, inadequate education and health facilities as well as housing for education and health workers, and, fourthly, inadequate supervision and monitoring of staff by the responsible government officials. The fifth factor is a difficult geographical area which means that transportation is costly, and the sixth is that financial resources for education and health expenditure for schools and public health centres depend on funding from the central government.

Keywords: decentralization, asymmetric decentralization, human development, special autonomy, Papua Province

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2019
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Noore Siddiquee