Students’ Parents Burdened by Levies

Kompas, page 12

The transfer of management of high schools (SMA) and vocational high schools (SMK) of the regency/city administration to the provincial administration “eliminates” free SMA/SMK schooling in a number of areas/regions. Based on information gathered, the management transfer of 598 SMA/SMK negates free SMA/SMK schooling in four regions. Large financing budget is the reason for the termination of such service.

The free schools whose implementation had been stalled are located in Kudus Regency, Sukoharjo, Karanganyar, and Semarang City. Head of Workforce Sector of Central Java Education Agency Sungkana explained, in those four districts, the free school program has been organized for 12 years, ranging from primary school (SD) to high school/vocational high school (SMA/SMK). However, after the authority of SMA/SMK was taken over by the provincial administration, the organization of SMA/SMK in the four regions is no longer free. He acknowledged the transfer in management of SMA/SMK requires a big budget so the provincial administration is not yet able to provide free schooling for students at the high school level.

Students in areas previously providing free education are now asked their participation in education organizing donations (SPP)/tuition. Currently, the Central Java Education Agency is preparing a gubernatorial regulation that governs public participation for the management of SMA/SMK. Policies that extract donations from parents is done considering the school operational funds (BOS) plus the education budget through the regional budget (APBD) are still insufficient. Ideally, each student at the SMA/SMK level will obtain a learning budget of Rp 2.5 million per year.

The same thing happened in the cities of Surabaya and Blitar, East Java. Students now pay tuition (SPP). Umi Subiyono (47), one of the guardians of a vocational high school student in Surabaya, said the additional expenditure of Rp 215,000 per month is burdensome. In fact, over the past 2 years he did not spend money for the education of his child who attends school in SMK Negeri 10 Surabaya, grade XII.

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