Tue, 10 Jun 2003

21,800 students fail final examinations

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

It was a bad day on Monday for many senior high school students in Jakarta when they received letters sent by mail to their home to inform them that they had failed the final examinations, held under the new system.

The Jakarta High Education Agency said that out of the 131,151 high school students participating in the exams, more than 21,800 or 16 percent did not pass.

The figures excluded students in the neighboring cities of Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok.

Last year, only 3,342 students out of the total 133,600 students failed the exams conducted under the old system.

"We are evaluating the results of the final exams to find out why so many high school students failed this year's exams," the agency spokesman, Abdul Hamid, told The Jakarta Post.

However, the increase in the number of students who did not pass the exams was believed to be related to the implementation of the new national examination system.

Under the new system, students can only continue their studies at a university level if they pass the final exams and obtain a graduation certificate.

Unlike the old system, in order to obtain a diploma students must get at least a 6.0 point average in all subjects in the final exams, and each score must be above 3.0.

The students who did not pass this year's exams were mostly those from vocational high schools (SMK), which comprised more than 17,440 or 27 percent of the total 62,898 students.

The remaining 4,400 students who failed the exams were those from high schools (SMU), or 6.55 percent of the total 67,253 students.

Head of the agency's high school division Thaher Husein said the ill-fated students would still be given a second chance to take an exam scheduled for between July 1 and July 10.

In Tangerang regency, Banten, a senior official of the local education agency, Abdu Surahman, said that 30 percent of high school students there had failed the final exams.

"That's because the government has imposed the new exam system this year," he added, referring to the new policy issued earlier this year by the Ministry of National Education.

Meanwhile, Monday's announcement of the examination results was received peacefully in Jakarta, thanks to the move to send the results by mail to the houses of the students, unlike previous years, when the results were announced at schools.

This was often marred by vandalism as students gathered in their schools, spraying paint on friends' uniforms, school walls, and parading around the city which in most cases led to student brawls.

Yanti, a student of state high school SMK 6 in Cibulan, South Jakarta, said she received her results via e-mail as the school administration urged the students to stay out of school on the last day of school.

The move was to avoid possible violence during end of school celebrations, she added.

"In past years, students gathered at schools to spray paint on their uniforms and nearby buildings. They held mass rallies and often fought with students from other schools. So now the school uses e-mail and letters to announce the results of the final exams," she said.