Koran Tempo, page 8
It is not that efforts were not sought to provide education for residents in the hinterlands of Mentawai. The government to non-government organizations have made efforts. One of the Mentawai NGOs, Yayasan Citra Mandiri Mentawai (YCMM), made a forest school as an alternative school for children along the Silaoinan River in Siberut. YCMM had established three forest schools since 2006. Two other forest schools built by YCMM in Bekeluk and Magosi Villages had been taken over by the government to be turned into a Filial of state primary school SD Negeri 12 Muntei.
According to Tarida Hernawati, Coordinator of YCMM Education Division, the government continues to build alternative schools for the people of Siberut who live far into the hinterlands and far away from education facilities. So far, schools are only built in settlements established by the government in the Isolated Communities Welfare Development program or Pembinaan Kesejahteraan Masyakarat Terasing (PKMT). The problem is, not many residents/ people feel at home in PKMT. Those who initially lived in PKMT in the end returned to the old villages because their fields and livestock are far from the PKMT. The children also followed suit and moved, and their education is neglected.
Mentawai Regent Yudas Sabagalet said the government does wanto to bring the schools closer to residences. But to build a school, there should be enough students. According to Yudas he wants to make filial schools first.
He said, building schools in Mentawai is far more expensive because all materials are brought in by boat from Padang, West Sumatera. For a simple school, the cost is at least Rp. 850 million. Therefore, the government proposed the schools be made of wood, which is readily available and cheaper. Efforts to build dorms is also explored. Yudas added, what is difficult to find is people who could manage the dormitories and to watch over the students.