Millions of Children Only Pass SD

Kompas, page 11

Despite the 8 year basic education in Indonesia is deemed a success, the number of compulsory school age children who only sit up to the primary school (SD) level is quite large. In 2015/2016 alone, about one million children drop out of school at SD as well as only completing SD. Economic factor is the main obstacle for them to continue schooling. Actually, in the Education Field SDGs 2030, every country should be able to ensure there is no one left behind in education. The target is the availability of universal primary and secondary education, which is inclusive, equitable, and of quality.

Director General of Primary and Secondary Education Ministry of Education and Culture Hamid Muhammad said indeed percentage-wise the number of students who do not complete (their education) until junior high school (SMP) is few. However, if not handled/addressed seriously, the yearly number could grow quite large. According to Hamid, it is not easy to pull/ encourage back school drop outs. In order for the program to return productive age children to complete 9 year basic education or even continuing on to study to high school/ vocational high school (SMA/SMK) the involvement of the regional administrations is much needed. He added, from a survey of the Central Statistics Agency, about 73 percent of school drop out cases occur due to economic factor.

Chairperson of the Smart Indonesia Movement or Gerakan Indonesia Pintar Yanti Sriyulianti reminded the government to not only rely on formal education services in helping school drop out children or those who have not been in school to be able to get an education. Various alternative education services that are flexible towards  regional conditions or children’s conditions should be prepared in order for the right to education to be fulfilled.

Based on Kemdikbud Education Data Highlights of Year 2015/2016, students who passed SD but do not continue on to SMP total 946,013 people. Coupled with the number of students who go on to SMP but do not pass (51,541 people),  so there are 97,554 Indonesian children whose status are SD graduates in 2015/2016. The situation is quite alarming because there are 68,066 other children who did not even study in SD. If this continues to occur every year and no breakthrough is not conducted, the total number of Indonesian people who hold a maximum of SD diploma continues to increase.

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