Palm Oil Firms Flock To Invest In Education

Jakarta – The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) has confirmed that many palm oil companies in Indonesia have already invested in education sector as part of their efforts to improve the quality of human resources in the country.

“Supporting the education means developing quality human resources to improve various sectors in Indonesia,” GAPKI’s Manpower Division Head Sumarjono Saragih said on Friday, 7 October 2022.

Based on data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), around 16 million workers are employed directly and indirectly in the palm oil industry. As they live in rural areas and far away from cities, one of their challenges is how to get quality education for their children. That is why they need assistances to get quality education for their children.

Sumarjono said that the assistances of the palm oil companies to the education sector include development of school buildings, scholarships, and other education facilities and assistances that are given through their respective corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs or through the oil palm plantation fund management board (BPDPKS).

Usually, under their CSR programs the palm oil companies collaborate with the local governments, especially the local education services. “The companies help improve the quality of local schools around the oil palm plantations. They also help recruit quality teachers if local schools face shortage of teachers, and also help organize trainings for the local teachers,” he said.

“That way they provide better education for the children of plantation workers and other children living around the plantations. Imagine if there is no school around the oil palm plantations, people will be discouraged to work in the plantations,” he said.

Sumarjono said that the palm oil companies that have invested in the education sector include PT Astra Argo Lestari Tbk, Wilmar Group, PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk, state-owned holding company Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN), and Tunas Sawa Erma (TSE) Group and others. They provide education assistances in their respective oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua.

He cited the example of PT Astra Argo Lestari Tbk that has given education assistances in the forms of scholarships for outstanding students and incentives for teachers in a number of schools, including those in Pasangkayu regency, West Sulawesi province.

He said Wilmar, another example, allocated Rp60 billion to build 15 schools around its oil plantation areas. The 15 schools consist of kindergartens, elementary schools, and junior and high senior schools in West Sumatra province, and Central Kalimantan province. Besides developing the education facilities, the companies has also given supporting facilities to other schools around their plantations, and provided scholarships for students.

Source: Daily