Wed, 09 Jul 2003

UI admission program causes confusion

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The announcement of the controversial special admission program at the University of Indonesia (UI) has confused parents and would-be students as most do not have a clear picture of the procedures and requirements of the program, except that it is for people who can afford tens of millions of rupiah as "down payments".

The confusion was evident on Tuesday, the second day of registration for UI's Independent Talent and Achievement Program (PPMM), at UI's admission counter on Jl. Salemba, Central Jakarta.

"My son took the state university admission test (SPMB) earlier. He chose the school of mining at Gadjah Mada University. Is it possible for him to pick UI's school of international relations in the special admission program?" asked a mother, who works at UI's School of Medicine. "Will he need to take another admission test?"

The mother did not realize that all applicants are required to take the state test before registering for the special admission program. She also did not realize that her son had to pick one of the options for the SPMB test.

Daliyono, a staff member at the counter, said that the SPMB result would be very important and that the amount of the payment agreed by parents would not be the only reason used in accepting students.

PPMM applicants will not have to take another admission test since UI will refer to the SPMB test results, which will be announced in early August. The application itself will be closed on July 19.

UI claimed that it will only accept candidates whose test result is no more than 5 percent below the standard required to pass the SPMB. If the standard to pass the SPMB is 780, the minimum test score to be eligible for special admission is at least 741.

Daliyono admitted that many confused parents had asked for a guarantee of a seat in the university if they could afford to pay a high amount of money.

"A high ranking military officer came one day and asked us if he paid a minimum payment of Rp 60 million (some US$7,320), would it mean his son would automatically be admitted?" he quoted the father as saying.

Daliyono explained that the payment for the PPMM candidates would take place once the students were admitted in the university. The announcement will be on Aug. 8. While the minimum payment varies between Rp 25 million and Rp 60 million based on the schools chosen by the students.

"Prior to the announcement of the special admission program, each applicant only needed to pay the Rp 200,000 registration fee," he said.

Each student admitted via the PPMM program will have to pay Rp 7.5 million tuition per semester, far higher than the tuition paid by regular students of between Rp 1.25 million and Rp 1.5 million per semester.

UI spokeswoman Diennaryati Cokrosuprihantono said that the parents' confusion was not caused by a problem of dissemination.

"We have placed our ads in various print and visual media. They must have been missed the ads," she claimed.

As of Monday, the number of applicants who had returned their PPMM application forms had reached 600. The special admission program will account for 20 percent of total new student enrollment, the rest will be taken from their scores on the SPMB.

The special admission scheme, which was launched on June 16, has sparked public criticism leading to its temporarily closure on June 25 following a summons to several university administrators to the House of Representatives to explain the issue. But state universities, including UI, have insisted on gathering more money due to state budget constraints. UI and other state universities were later allowed to proceed with the program.

Requirements for UI special admission scheme

1. Applicant must have taken SPMB test.

2. The applicant's academic report from high school must be a minimum of 7.0 grade average, in a range of 0 to 10.

3. Applicant must pay registration form fee of Rp 200,000 and submit parents' or sponsors' readiness to pay the minimum payment as required by the respective schools.