|Subject: IO: Teachers want out of Timor
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 18:24:15 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Indonesian Observer 8th March 1999 Nation Teachers want out of Timor
JAKARTA (IO) The majority of around 3,000 teachers in East Timor are willing to flee the troubled territory amid intensifying tensions and following recent violence there, says a cabinet minister.
Education and Culture Minister Juwono Sudarsono was quoted yesterday by the private television network SCTV as saying 80% of the teachers have submitted proposals to leave the countrys 27th province.
He said the government has allocated Rp50 billion to finance the evacuation and placement of the restless teachers and their 15,000 family members to other provinces for similar duties.
Earlier last month, thousands of education and medical workers demanded safety and security protection from local military authorities following attacks on their friends in East Timor.
Health Minister Farid Anfasa Moeloek has threatened to withdraw his doctors from the territory if security personnel failed to guarantee their safety.
Juwono said a cabinet meeting on politics and security, scheduled for today, will discuss partially the fate of teachers in East Timor. A decision on whether they will be evacuated or moved to other regions will be taken at the meeting, he added.
East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Soares and other government officials have repeatedly appealed to East Timorese and local migrants to stay in the province, but an exodus of fleeing people along with their families has been continuing.
Especially for teachers, they have been advised to go to the East Timor capital of Dili to take refuge.
Juwono said the educational staff will be moved to teach on the islands of Java, Kalimantan, Lombok and Sumbawa, Irian Jaya and Sumatra.
The minister also said the government has no plan to evacuate thousands of teachers from the strife-ridden province of Maluku.
The fate of teachers in Maluku has not yet been discussed as the government is centering on finding a solution to the communal violence there.