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In Search of More Nyomans and Ketuts

Governor Disavows National Family Planning Policy: 2 Kids Not Enough, Balinese Family Should Have a Minimum of 4 Children

Bali’s newly inaugurated Governor, Wayan Koster, shocked a reception of Balinese teachers celebrating National Teachers Day on Monday, November 26, 2018, when he made a bold call for the abandonment of the National Family Planning Board’s national campaign to encourage an “ideal” family size of only two children.

As reported by Balipost.com, the Governor addressed the 73rd Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) gathering in Denpasar where he said the National Family Planning Program of limiting births to two per married couple must come to an end in Bali. Koster contends that Bali’s native population has become stagnant over the past five years, a fact that is minimizing and marginalizing the number of true Balinese living on the Island.

For this reason, Governor Koster is opposed to the National Family Planning Board goal of only two children as it applies to Bali. Adding: “Just imagine the Balinese naming prefixes for Nyoman (third born) and Ketut (fourth born) have become rare. The main point is please don’t follow my example and have only two children.”

Koster also took the opportunity to state his opposition to Family Planning Competitions held between villages and communities that link success in family planning to cross-sectoral steps by the government to reduce poverty. Koster said he will call the Regents of Bali and the head of the Family Planning Office in Bali to make his views known that “Family Planning competitions between villages are not appropriate to Bali’s culture.”

The Governor’s view is that Bali must abandon the "two children enough" policy to be replaced with “families of quality.” For this reason, Koster called on the teacher to abandon campaigns for “two children is enough.” Koster said: “At a minimum, Balinese families must have four children, if that is possible.” The Governor then shared a story of how a simple flower salesman in Badung Regency has managed to educate his children to become medical doctors.”

Koster said he is prepared to stand up and oppose a Central Government policy because he fears the number of Balinese is shrinking. He said the Balinese people are the main supports of Balinese culture. He also pointed to the experience of Singapore where the government that once told its citizens to have only one child is not providing incentives to families that have two or more children.

In addition, Koster said that Bali’s share in the national budget will suffer if the population remains small as allocations from the government for schooling and other areas are linked to the number of students.

In a related matter, the Governor said his administration will be introducing mandatory education for 12 years in gradual steps starting in 2019. This will be done by increasing the number of children continuing on to a senior high school education to 80% in 2019, 85% in 2020, and 95% in 2021. The Governor he said would soon focus on more funding to achieve these educational goals.

He outlined how in 2019 Bali will build a High School in Karangasem Regency in the tradition of the successful Bali Mandara Hihj School in North Bali. Additional schools will be built in Jembrana and Buleleng. These three areas of Karangasem, Jembrana and Buleleng remain places where educational assistance is needed. More money will also be made available for private schools.