Sat, 10 Jul 2004

Computerized school admission system in Jakarta passes first test

Leony Aurora, Jakarta

Parents visiting senior high schools in Jakarta on Friday to ensure placements for their children found a new computerized admission system that is transparent and practical.

The system, applied for the first time in the capital, allows parents to name five preferred schools for their children, who are ranked based on academic performance. Schools will accept students ranked higher than their actual capabilities.

"The system is more transparent now," said M. Darwin after checking his son's position at a room on the ground floor of SMA 70 state senior high school in Bulungan, South Jakarta.

At 11 a.m., his son, Bob Sumadi, was listed 88th for one of the 400 places available at SMA 70, his first choice.

Darwin told The Jakarta Post that it was good that he could monitor his son's position minute by minute through the Internet. Bob's position is bound to change as more student register during the admission period from July 9 to July 12.

Should his rank fall to below 400, Bob's details will automatically be submitted to his second choice of school, and so forth.

SMA 70 principal Djumadi told reporters that parents were supposed to receive printouts immediately after filling in and submitting admission forms to check their children's data as well as to obtain registration numbers.

These numbers are needed to check the students' positions through the Jakarta Junior/High School Education Agency's website at Alternately, people can send the message "unibraw psb jkt (registration number)" to 7890 for Telkomsel users and 5252 for those using Indosat.

"However, as the process (of data entry) takes time, we ask parents to come back after 4 p.m. this afternoon or tomorrow morning to get their printouts," said Djumadi. "Otherwise, they will amass here."

Officials at each school only enter students' previous national examination numbers and preferred schools.

"We send the data to the agency, which will log in the grades," said a member of the admission committee, referring to three subjects students are tested on nationwide -- English, Bahasa Indonesia and mathematics -- used to rank the students. This measure is conducted to avoid the use of fake school diplomas.

However, human error in typing in numbers has posed some minor problems.

"When my son's exam number was entered, his file could not be processed," said one concerned father. An official answered that it was possible that a typing error had caused the problem and urged the father to report the case to the agency.

Agency spokesman Abdul Hamid said that up until Friday afternoon, no complaints had been reported.

"Most people phone in to get information," he said.

Students not accepted by any of their five preferred schools may resubmit their applications with five new options during the admission period. Final results will be announced on July 13, which will also be the first day of a three-day registration period for accepted students at their respective schools.

A second admission period, with a similar procedure, will be held from July 16 to July 17 to fill remaining spaces.