Tue, 10 Jun 2003

New decree increases number of students failing final exam

The Jakarta Post, Bandung/Medan

The number of students who failed to pass the national final exam in the provinces of West Java and North Sumatra have increased after the Ministry of National Education issued a decree on the final examination.

In West Java, a total of 12,341 high school students, or 5 percent of about 215,000 students, failed to pass the final examination.

Head of the provincial education office Iim Wasliman said that the result was worse than last year, which saw only 2 percent of students failing.

"In the province itself, the worst result was found in Purwakarta regency, where 12 percent of students failed. The best result is in Sumedang regency, with only 1.5 percent who failed," he said on Monday in Bandung.

"The poor results somehow show the true quality of education in the province."

Iim said that West Java had a relatively low rating compared to other provinces across the nation.

"In fact, we had to lower the passing grade from an ideal of six to only three," he said.

In Medan, 11,150 of 159,170 students, or 7 percent, failed their final examinations. Last year, the ministry reported North Sumatra province had a success rate of 93.58 percent.

The North Sumatra provincial education office had earlier predicted that between 20 and 25 percent students would fail in the examination.

"The figure (of 7 percent) is much lower than what we expected," said head of the office O.K. Nazaruddin Hisyam.

The highest number of students who failed was recorded in Central Tapanuli regency with 12.77 percent, while the lowest was in Pematang Siantar regency.

The ministry issued a new decree in February that the results of the final examination would be divided into two categories, pass (lulus) and finish (tamat).

The decree stated that students who failed their final exams would be declared only as having finished their studies. They would be allowed to apply for jobs, but not to continue their study. Only those who pass are allowed both to continue their education or to apply for employment.

Many have been worried that more and more students would not be able to pursue their studies to the tertiary level.

However, those who failed may retake the final exam early next month. The registration is scheduled from June 10 to June 14.