Affluent neighborhoods not free of run-down schools

The Jakarta Post, page 4

When people think of rundown schools in the country, most minds are likely to wander toward schools in outer regions. However, students in Jakarta also have to endure decaying school facilities, even in an affluent neighborhood like Menteng in Central Jakarta.

It has been two years since the library roof at state elementary school SDN 03 in Menteng collapsed, causing the school to move the library to an unused computer lab. Apart from the damaged library, the school’s ventilation system is also decaying due to termites.

The school once tried to seek funds for renovations from other parties, but the Jakarta Education Agency forbade it, saying that the school was its responsibility.

While some parts of the school are in dire need of renovation, the school still has some nifty facilities as it is located in Menteng, home to many diplomats, embassies and luxury properties.

For instance, all classrooms in the school are air-conditioned, with parents of students pitching in to pay for the air conditioners and electricity.

Some students of the elementary school did not seem to be bothered by the decaying facilities now that the library has been moved. Bagus Rama, a fifth-grader at the school, for example, said that he knew the library was badly damaged but it was OK as it had been moved temporarily and will be renovated soon.

But not all students were as nonchalant as Bagus. Ali Ramadhan, a 10-year-old student at elementary school SDN 02 in Duri Pulo, Central Jakarta, said it was scary to go into the school’s male toilets because the ceilings were broken. He said that the ceilings of the male toilets once collapsed, but no one was injured.

SDN 03 Menteng and SDN 02 Duri Pulo are among the 627 schools in Jakarta that have renovations planned for 2017 with a budget of Rp 3.06 trillion (US$230 million). Currently, 47 percent of schools in the capital need to be renovated and only 885 out of 1,708 schools are considered to be in good condition.

Unfortunately, the damaged schools cannot all be renovated at once because the city budget needs to be prioritized for schools that are heavily damaged, said Jakarta Education Agency head Sopan Adrianto.

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