Sat, 27 Jul 1996

4,000 seats vacant at state universities

JAKARTA (JP): About 4,000 out of 64,000 contested seats at state universities throughout Indonesia are vacant this year, an official said yesterday.

Announcing the results of this year's evaluation on college entrance tests, Wiwit B. Widiantono -- who oversees entrance tests in Jakarta, West Java, Sumatra and West Kalimantan -- said the vacant seats are in 198 study programs at 31 universities.

According to Wiwit, the empty seats represent a 15.4 percent increase over last year's 3,513.

"State universities which have empty seats in their study programs are mostly those of last year," he told journalists.

Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro told reporters yesterday the underlying reason for the vacant seats is the participants' inability to achieve the standard minimum scores.

According to the report, among the state universities with empty seats were the Medan Teachers Training Institute (IKIP), 420 seats; IKIP Yogyakarta, 156; IKIP Jakarta, 199; IKIP Surabaya, 150; IKIP Manado, 418; Sebelas Maret University in Surakarta, 199; Syahkuala University in Banda Aceh, 154; Udayana University in Bali, 288; and Tadulako University in Central Sulawesi, 383.

The entrance exam committee will announce the results of the entrance test today.

This academic year, 63,753 of the 378,743 high school students vying for seats in the 89 state universities will be admitted. Another 6,000 seats are reserved for high achievers, who are exempted from admission tests.

From the 63,753 people to be admitted this year, 33,376 are enrolled for natural sciences programs and 30,377 at the social sciences programs.

"Let's say there are only 60 seats available and the study program required a certain score. Even if 60 participants applied for the program and only 40 of them reached the required score, the program would accept those 40," Wardiman said.

He disagreed with the suggestion to dissolve study programs that do not attract enough students and suggested universities compete to improve their quality in order to lure more quality students.

"Students who have high grades will not apply to universities which have low quality. It's just natural," Wardiman said.

Furthermore, he said, high-quality universities will maintain their good reputations by demanding high scores from the applicants.

He declined, however, to compare the quality of this year's entrance exam participants with last year's.

"A university entrance exam is not like a high school final exam. High school graduates do not have to take university entrance exams if they don't want to, even if they are highly intelligent," Wardiman said. (31)