Sat, 10 Jul 2004

'I work hard to send them to school'

Many parents try and send their children to the best schools they can afford to provide them with a good education. However, many more find supporting their children's education a terrible burden because of expensive tuition and a drawn-out, confusing enrollment process. The Jakarta Post asked some parents about their experiences and views.

Suhati, 36, is a sports education teacher at a state junior high school in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta. She lives with her husband and two children in Bojong Gede, Bogor, West Java:

The quality of education has declined. This is apparent in the lack of creativity among children. Their interest in reading is far below that in playing on the computer, playing video games or surfing the Internet. Maybe this has something to do with the development of media. The programs on TV are becoming more interesting these days.

The state elementary school near my house accepts students without considering classroom conditions, and their students have shorter school days. Seeing that, I sent my children to a private school, although it is more expensive. But I feel that they learn more, as they study from morning to afternoon.

To cover their admission fees, I took out education insurance when they were born. It may not amount to much for some, but for me, it's sufficient.

Aside from school, they also take extracurricular lessons, such as English and religion. They should not play too much. They face more challenges now, so they must have extra support wherever possible.

Sriati, 36, is a vegetable seller at a street market on Jl. Perdatam, South Jakarta. She lives nearby with her husband, two children and her mother:

I sell vegetables in the morning and run a laundry service in the afternoon. I work hard so we can afford to send the children to school, as we can't depend on my husband's meager earnings as a construction worker.

My eldest will enter the fifth grade, and I want to buy him a new school uniform. The littlest one is now five years old. Most children of her age went to kindergarten, but I can't afford it. So she has to wait until she is old enough to start elementary school.

It is hard to make ends meet nowadays, but the children have to get the education they need -- for as long as I can afford it.

-- The Jakarta Post