With strong competition in every sector these days, Bali must prepare its people to face these challenges in order to keep up with modern trends and not become jobless on their own land, the island’s governor said.
Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said Balinese people must have proper knowledge beside being mentally resilient. The drive to ensure Balinese people are resilient and educated forms part of “Ajeg Bali” (“Strengthening Bali”), which became a household term after the 2002 Bali bombing.
While “ajeg” can literally be defined as stable or strong, the term ajeg Bali refers to a Bali that is standing strong. However, it also means a Bali that is more closed to outside threats and influences, especially those from within Indonesia.
The governor pointed to a project designed to develop the Balinese people, which involved the building of the Bali Mandara High School in 2011 as a foundation to strengthen the island’s culture and train future leaders. Many graduates from the school have gone on to become proven leaders in various sectors. Some of the school’s alumni have also received scholarships from various universities in Indonesia and abroad.
Governor said, the students who enter the school no need to be smart. The school can develop their knowledge while they are in school. But they must come from a background of poverty. It is the one and only condition to get into this school. He added that students must also have respect for their parents and the places they come from if they wish to be admitted to the school.
Bali Mandara is a dormitory school where students live on the premises and study from the morning until the afternoon. Students are also required take part in meditation classes twice a day.
According to Mangku Pastika, the tuition-free school has become one of the leading educational institutions in Indonesia, placing itself at the same level as top schools such as the semi-military Taruna Nusantara High School in Magelang, Central Java; Krida Nusantara in Bandung, West Java and Soposurung High School, which is situated in a remote village in North Sumatra.