Wed, 31 Mar 1999

No exam fees for elementary schools

JAKARTA (JP): Students of state elementary schools in the capital will be able to enroll in their final examinations without paying any fees, an official said on Monday.

The exam charges, which have been set by state schools in the range of Rp 18,200 to Rp 29,250 per student, will be paid by both city administration and the state in their budgets for the 1999/2000 fiscal year beginning April 1, deputy governor for social welfare Djailani said.

The policy, he said, was intended to help Jakarta's students continue their studies during the prolonged economic crisis.

The city administration urged managers of private schools not to demand money from students for the final examinations.

Djailani said school operators should bear the costs of the examination process.

He asked that all school authorities in the capital would "have a sense of crisis so none of them tries to break the rules".

Djailani said the administration would "take action" against errant teachers and school principals found to disobey the rulings. The teachers, for instance, would be demoted for their "mistakes".

The free exam regulation was stipulated in a 1999 Gubernatorial Decree, which also set the examination fees for state elementary schools at Rp 18,200 per student and state Muslim elementary schools at Rp 29,250.

The ruling also stated that fees for private elementary school students would be "handled by the school operators", Djailani said.

According to the official, Governor Sutiyoso's administration had ordered managers of state elementary schools in Jakarta to free students from all charges for the exams.

"The policy is in support of the government's compulsory learning campaign for nine-year-old children across the country," he said.

The national examination for elementary schools this year will coincide with the exams for junior high schools from May 10 to May 12, while senior high school exams will be held from May 3 to May 6.

Before taking part in the national examinations, all students have to take part in the examinations organized by their schools, which are usually held a few days earlier.

Late last week, the city office of the Ministry of Education and Culture proposed a 15 percent increase to this year's examination fees for junior and senior high schools in Jakarta.

The fees are currently set at Rp 44,000 for junior high schools, Rp 59,400 for senior high schools, and Rp 70,400 for vocational schools.

Sutiyoso said he had not yet made any decision on the proposal.

Separately, head of the city's education and teaching agency Masrul Nim said that 56 state elementary school buildings -- out of the total 1,700 buildings -- in the city were in danger of collapsing.

"We plan to totally renovate 16 of the buildings, hopefully beginning in April. The rest will undergo minor repairs, due to the limited budget," he said, adding that the renovation works for each building would cost about Rp 1.2 billion. (ind)