Students go Slack in Facing Exams

The Jakarta Post, page 4

The national exam (UN) used to be kind of boogeyman for senior high school students as it determined whether or not they graduated. In 2001, a 12th grader in Jambi committed suicide after failing the national exam, while other students reportedly from psychological stress.

But since 2015, the once-dreaded national exam is no longer used as a determinant for high school graduation.

Rizky Nauli, a final-year student at state senior high school SMAN 3 Jakarta in Setiabudi, South Jakarta, admitted that he had not prepared much for the computer-based national examination (UNBK), which started on Monday and will last until Thursday.

He said he did not study much ahead of the UNBK. The situation is different from when he was about to face the USBN [national standardized school examination] as he studied until late at night and even read books he rarely touched.

The USBN is a new form of exam introduced this year by the Cultural and Education Ministry. It replaces the national exam as one of the determinants for graduation, along with practical examinations, daily test and student attitudes during school term.

Unlike the UN, the USBN is managed by regional administrations. As such, the content of the exams is no longer designed by the ministry, but is instead designed by teachers grouped under the Teacher Development Network (MGMP) in regencies and municipalities. As the result, high school students have to take booth the USBN and UN starting this year.

The Culture and Education Ministry acknowledged that students had been paying less attention to UN and the UNBK. However, a ministry spokesperson, Ari Santoso, said there was nothing they could do about it. It all depends on the students themselves. The decision to take the exams seriously must come from their own will.

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