Tue, 05 Aug 2003

Universities see fewer students admitted

Rizky KD Ntoma, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The number of students passing the National State University Admission Test (SPMB) nationwide dropped from 81,471 last year to 78,841 this year.

SPMB committee secretary Soesmalijah Soewondo said on Monday that the number of students applying to sit the SPMB also dropped from 398,589 last year to around 352,000 this year.

"Fewer participants sat this year's test. Maybe they sat the special admission tests which were held before high school graduation by some state universities, like Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University (UGM)," she said.

Of the 78,841 students, some 36,841 opted for social sciences while the rest took natural sciences.

The SPMB results were announced on Monday, with the announcement being distributed for free at the University of Indonesia (UI) campus in Salemba, Central Jakarta, and the State University of Jakarta (UNJ) in Rawamangun, East Jakarta.

Soesmalijah said that over the last four years, the committee has also given awarded scholarships to around 3,000 students from low-income families across the country.

"However, of the 2,361 students interested in the program only 792 students passed the exams and were given full scholarships for a year. The students didn't have to pay for the admission test. We also provided them with transportation expenses and allowances," she said.

These students were supposed to find scholarships on their own from companies or the government after one year.

Students admitted to UI will have to pay between Rp 1.75 million (US$206) and Rp 2 million, including the cost of a college jacket, student ID card, and first semester fees.

In private universities, new students are required to pay admission fees of between Rp 5 million and Rp 50 million during their first semester, depending on the subject. This does not include the semester fee, which normally runs to at least Rp 2.5 million.

During the announcement, only a few students were to be seen on the UI and UNJ campuses as many had already checked their results on the internet, where the results were posted on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Over the last three years, the announcement has been made through the internet, local newspapers and the telephone texting service.

For one student, Monday's announcement brought the same news as last year's.

"I failed last year and again this year. I'll try again next year. I won't give up. I'll take an intensive course to prepare myself better for next year," said Paul, who is currently studying at privately-run Bina Sarana Informatika college.

Paul had applied for UI school of nursing and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) school of mathematics this year.

He said that he was very nervous during the test, not only because of its level of difficulty but also the limited time allowed.

"Of course I was nervous. I wish they would give us longer," he sighed.

By contrast, Adi Raharjo, who was admitted at the UNJ school of engineering, was over the moon.

"I'm so happy ... That's it. I won't have to take another test next year," he said laughing.