Tue, 30 May 2000

Junior high school exams begin under tight control

JAKARTA (JP): The national final examination (Ebtanas) for junior high schools started on Monday under tight control amid fear of cheating similar to what happened with the senior high school exam last week.

Some Ebtanas committee members said such tight control was taken in stages, including the distribution of the test copies -- reaching the schools only hours before the exam -- keeping an eye on students during the three-day examination and conducting sporadic raids on students' belongings and, if necessary, their persons.

"Last year all of the copies were given to schools one day before the test, but this year the examination transcripts were distributed differently, on the very day as the exam," said Waidjo Naibaho, head of the Central Jakarta's 03 schools sub region which supervised 57 state and privately owned schools at Menteng, Tanah Abang and Gambir subdistricts.

Waidjo said the committee members took the test copies early in the morning before the exam started to a certain school which had been appointed as the subregion center, where the materials were stored.

"It's part of the effort to minimize cheating. We support the new system so that teachers won't be accused of being involved," he said.

The City Office of the Ministry of National Education discovered possible cheating in nine senior high schools during the exam, which lasted for four days starting on May 22.

In West Java, transcripts were found in four state high schools in Tangerang: SMU Negeri 2, SMU Negeri 4, SMU Negeri 5, and SMU Negeri 7.

The office had determined that students who were implicated in making use of the test data would undergo makeup examinations on June 5, along with the one for students who failed to show up for the initial exam.

In anticipation of such crimes, the Ministry of National Education has changed the exam materials for junior high schools.

Chairman of East Jakarta region Adi Dasmin said that due to high security measures, members of the exam committee should stay overnight at the schools.

"It is the committee members who should check the materials, distribute them for each school and guard the papers upon their arrival," he said.

Such tight controls were obvious on Monday. Even at SLTPN 07 in Utan Kayu area, East Jakarta, all of the students' belongings, including their shoes, were placed outside the classrooms.

Tight security was also seen at SLTPN 08 at Pegangsaan area and SLTPN 01 at Cikini area, both in Central Jakarta. Security guards could also be found at the school entrance.

"We're just trying o avoid any problems," said B. Sagala, Ebtanas committee chairman of SLTPN 08.

Head of the national education office, Alwi Nurdin, said separately on Monday that the office had finished scanning the senior high school Ebtanas test results.

"However, we can't disclose our findings now," he said.

Contacted separately, chairman of the Jakarta Examination Committee, Sulaeman Hariadi said the findings would first be discussed with school region chairpersons starting at 8 p.m. on Monday.

"The next step is to show the results to the school headmasters who will decide whether the students should repeat the exam, for the headmasters are the ones who really know their students' abilities," he said.

In a related development, about 100 senior high school students staged a demonstration at the Jakarta office of the national education ministry on Monday afternoon seeking clarification on the makeup exam. (ind)