Mon, 13 Jun 1994

56,000 sign up for college entrance test

JAKARTA (JP): Through Thursday 56,000 students had applied for the state university entrance test (UMPTN) in Jakarta's Region A, Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro announced Friday.

Wardiman believes the number will increase before the June 17 deadline.

Earlier, the rector of the University of Indonesia, M.K. Tadjudin, said the participants from the greater Jakarta area are projected to increase to 75,680 this year from last year's 68,091.

The UMPTN organizing committee has allocated 50 seats for blind participants. Soesmalijah Soewondo, who led UMPTN's coordinating committee for Jakarta, told The Jakarta Post that the committee has prepared 23 Braille examination sheets for blind participants.

UMPTN is managed and supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. As Indonesia's most prestigious exam, it is designed to select outstanding high school graduates throughout the country for entry to 45 state universities.

For the last three years approximately 450,000 students have taken the test. They have competed for around 60,000 seats in the state universities.

Wardiman visited the secretariat of the Jakarta UMPTN office where the braille exam sheets are produced. The minister admitted that inadequate data on the number of blind students remains an obstacle to the effort to meet demand for the special sheets.

Also on Friday, Wardiman visited the Panglima Besar Sudirman integrated high school, a high school were disabled children learn alongside other students.

During his visit, he said that the presence of integrated schools in Jakarta is expected to assist the ministry's nine-year compulsory education program because the disabled children, who make up three percent of school-age children, are also entitled to proper education.

"With the support of the private sector and integrated schools, the time before the realization of the nine-year program could be shortened from 15 years to 10 years," he said.

Jakarta has 14 integrated schools with 117 students. Countrywide, there are 258 such schools with 546 students.

At the Panglima Besar Sudirman high school, Wardiman also inspected the proceedings of a UMPTN preliminary test by 13 blind students using the Braille examination sheets. The students came from Jakarta, Bandung in West Java and Yogyakarta.

Wardiman pointed out that the government's big step in providing the Braille sheets should be followed by the provision of good Braille books and Braille teachers.

He also acknowledged that the government's step will encourage disabled children, especially the blind, to enter high school and take the UMPTN test.

"The impact will not be felt now, but in about two or three years to come, the number of disabled participants will jump significantly," he said. (03)