This year, for the first time, the municipal government of Semarang issued a regulation for education, especially related to the new students acceptance. Besides via the “regular” program, state schools were encouraged to open a “special” program. This program gave a way to students who didn’t get good scores in the examination to be accepted at their dream school, as long as the parents agreed to pay some amount of money. Of course this “policy” got lots of criticisms from society.
I remember in 1980 when I was accepted at one state junior high school, in the announcement board, I saw around 200 test-takers were accepted. They were divided into four classes. However, on the first day of studying in that school, there were eight classes! This meant there were around 200 other students also accepted, not via “regular” program—passing the entrance test (not via high scores of the national examination). Some elementary school friends of mine who did not pass the test also went to the same junior high school together with me. You can guess what their parents did: bribed the school. Therefore, I heard after that the headmaster bought a new car. The rumour said the money the school got from the bribery was divided among the teachers evenly, and the headmaster got the most.
I did not pay attention when I entered the senior high school. I believe bribery cases also happened, only they were done more ‘tidily’ so that they were not easily seen.
In 2003 Angie entered the same junior high school as mine. In the announcement board there were 280 new students accepted, for seven classes. On the first day of school, I asked Angie to find out how many classes were open, and how many students there were in one class. She reported there were (still) seven classes. However, in one class, there were around forty-five until forty-seven students. It means, there were around five until seven “smugglers”. Similar as what happened in my ‘era’ to be accepted at that junior high school, of course the money obtained from the bribery was exclusively for the school only—whether to be given to the headmaster as well as the teachers, or to build some laboratories or to provide some facilities.
It has been a public secret that during the new student acceptance and registration, headmasters and teachers get some extra money.
What happened after the municipal government of Semarang issued a regulation for the “special” program, so that the parents can do “legal” bribery? The money must be divided into two parts evenly, for the schools as well as for the government. What will the government do with the money? The mayor of Semarang must be very careful to carry out something using the money because the society has given full attention to this case. Several months ago, he was accused of getting involved in one corruption case.
The middle-low social class people have been very concerned with this because education has become more and more expensive recently. They have to compete with the rich people. The bitter joke of “orang miskin dilarang sakit” (poor people are forbidden to be sick) will be accompanied by another joke, “orang miskin dilarang sekolah” (poor people are forbidden to go to school) while in fact education is one most important basic to develop our country, to catch up with other advanced countries. How will Indonesia develop itself if the young generations cannot get enough education due to the expensive cost?
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