National News - April 09, 2008
Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The government is recruiting university lecturers to proctor national exams for elementary, junior and senior high school students.
The lecturers will join so-called "independent watchdog teams" at the provincial and regency/municipal levels. They will be responsible for preventing the kind of large-scale cheating that has dogged the exams for years.
To finance the establishment and activities of the teams, the government has allocated Rp 57.9 billion (US$6.3 million) out of a total Rp 572.85 billion set aside for the national exam program.
"We're now calculating the number of teams and staff members needed for the entire nation; and we've started recruiting some lecturers," chairman of the National Education Standards Agency, Djemari Mardapi, said here Tuesday.
Djemari said the independent watchdog teams only existed at the provincial level last year, while this year teams would be available at the regency/municipal level.
Team members will oversee the exams, including supervising the photocopying of exam papers, storing the papers and distributing them to schools. They will also be responsible for managing the answer sheets.
The National Education Ministry hopes to have rectors of state universities coordinate each team at the provincial level, with lecturers from state and private universities as members of the teams at all three levels.
"If we're lacking lecturers to join the teams, we'll recruit college students who have completed six or more semesters," the ministry said in a press statement.
This year, elementary school students will take the national exam in mid-May. They will be tested on Indonesian, mathematics and natural sciences.
Final year junior and senior high school students will see additional subjects on their exams this year, in addition to the Indonesian, English and math they were tested on last year.
Junior high school students, who will take the exam in early May, will also be tested on natural sciences this year, while high school students will be tested on three additional subjects later this month, depending on the focus of their studies.
High school students in the natural sciences program will have additional chemistry, physics and biology tests; those in the social sciences program will have additional geography, economics and sociology tests.
Students in the languages program will be tested in Indonesian literature, foreign languages and anthropology; and students in the Islamic program will have additional tests on Koran exegesis, science of hadith and Sufism.
National exams are used to determine the eligibility of final year students to pass on to the next level of education. They have over the years been fiercely criticized by the public.
Former Jakarta State University rector Winarno Surachman told The Jakarta Post last week that students' exam scores could not represent their actual competency.
Education expert Soedijarto said the exam was an "unfair system" as it was applied to all students in the country regardless of the disparities in the quality of education they had enjoyed.