Wed, 21 Jun 2000

Money a strong motive for leaked high school exams

JAKARTA (JP): Thirteen people are currently being investigated as suspects by the National Police for leaking the nationwide senior high school final examinations (Ebtanas).

Minister of National Education Yahya A. Muhaimin on Tuesday again admitted that they were all officials and staff of his office but declined to reveal their identities.

Yahya had earlier said that eight people were suspected of the offense.

"Besides, its up to the authorities to name the suspects," he said in a hearing with House of Representatives' Commission VI on Education and Health Affairs.

Leaks of annual national examinations were discovered last month in several high schools in the Greater Jakarta area resulting in some 3,500 students at 55 schools having to retake their examinations.

According to the Ministry's Director General of Elementary and Secondary Education Indra Djati Sidi, the suspects stole one of the document's copies.

"There were 28 copies, 26 for each province, the rest were for the research and development (R&D) division and the directorate general's archives. They stole the R&D copy," he said.

The focus of the investigation, Indra said, is to find out the network of the leak, and the mastermind behind it.

Yahya said that police also found that students from eight senior high schools in Jakarta were involved in the distribution of the leaked copies.

"The motive for the staff and the students, was money. Although we suspect that there maybe other motives, but police are still investigating," he said.

On Friday, Yahya claimed that apart from money, the mastermind of the plan was motivated by revenge after being removed from his previous "lucrative" post at the ministry.

Yahya, however, refused to elaborate any further.

Legislator Silvy Ratnawati of the Golkar faction, suggested that the whole Ebtanas process should be terminated.

"The leak happens every single year! It's not worth the money the government spends every year," she said.

But Yahya defended the examinations saying it was a standard measure of the quality of education and students scholastic ability.

"It is also used by schools to control the quality of education, to filter students, and as feedback to develop the curriculum," he said.

But Yahya emphasized that the ministry, along with educational experts, will evaluate the implementation of Ebtanas, and find ways to improve the system. (09)