Sat, 28 Jun 2003

'Quality of commercial education is questionable'

High admission fees to enroll at educational institutions have sparked public grievances, while the House of Representatives has called for a review of the policy. Some argue that students should pay more if they want good education, but many parents disagree, saying that the commercialization of education will eventually degrade its quality. Several shared their views with The Jakarta Post:

Arie, 48, is an employee with a private company on Jl. Gatot Subroto, Central Jakarta. She lives in Cijantung, East Jakarta, with her husband and three children.

School admission fees are now very burdensome for me, especially as I have three children who must continue their education this year at junior and senior high schools and university, all at the same time.

I have paid Rp 7.5 million for my daughter's private junior high school enrollment. My eldest son has been admitted to a private university that charges more than Rp 10 million. The second son is due to enroll at a popular state senior high school that set admission fees of around Rp 8 million last year.

Besides, it's seems quite bizarre to ask would-be students to fill in a form stating the salary of their parents, with the last telephone bill attached.

I think that the quality of education is questionable when money becomes the top priority. The underprivileged, but intelligent student will not be motivated to go to school.

It would be better to consider students' achievements and intelligence as the substantive criteria.

Santo, not his real name, 44, is the father of three children who works as marketing director for a private company in Tangerang, Banten. He lives in Gading Serpong, Tangerang, with his family:

I had to pay quite a lot for my daughters to continue their education at private junior and senior high schools.

For the private junior high school I paid Rp 8 million and the senior high school Rp 11 million.

I appreciate that there is no free education now. If we don't pay the admission fees, who will pay the teachers?

It's almost impossible to demand that teachers be professional, without paying them appropriately. Loyalty is nothing without welfare.

I think that most parents are selfish nowadays -- they want the best education at the lowest cost.

So, how can schools raise funds if we don't pay for tuition? The government is financially impotent due the absence of a budget -- we can't rely on the government now.

In terms of education, I think both high or low admission fees are relative, anyway.

Ignas, 31, is an employee with a private company in South Jakarta. He lives in Cawang, East Jakarta, with his wife and two children:

As a parent I worry a lot about admission fees, as they will be far higher next year for my daughter, who is due to start at elementary school.

I've no idea how I'll earn enough money to finance my children's education in the next few years.

I think the commercialization of education has gone too far. Worse still, the government has failed to provide education subsidies to help ease the situation.

I'm afraid that the quality of education will drastically deteriorate if financial considerations become the top priority, quite apart from the recent curriculum, which is now a burden for students.

Under such circumstances, people will tend to look for institutions that are cheap, despite their questionable reputation.

Many school graduates will not be able to continue their education and this will increase the unemployment rate.

-- Leo Wahyudi S