School Waits for Ruling on ‘Donations’

DALUNG ~ The principal of a junior high school accused of extorting money from students’ parents has agreed to stop taking the “donations” if and when he receives an official instruction.

But the Department of Education, Youth and Sport has not issued instructions to the principal and there is confusion over the legitimacy of the school taking an average Rp500,000 (US$50) and up to Rp1.5 million ($150) from the parents of 402 students.

Parents of students at Negeri 3 junior high school at Abiansemal, 20 kilometres north of Denpasar, complained they were being forced to pay the fees, despite there being no agreement with the school committee on payment.

The school is reportedly hundreds of millions of rupiah (tens of thousands of dollars) in debt.

It is understood that Badung political figures have unofficially visited school principal Wayan Sukadana and advised him to immediately stop imposing the charges.

Sukadana has expressed willingness to comply with any official direction. “We will respect any decision issued,” he said on Monday. “Yes, if it is forbidden, we will stop taking the donations.”

The Education Department is reported to previously have stated that the charges were a legitimate way to service the school’s debt.

Sukadana is waiting for a consistent decision and says if it is not delivered “we will find the best solution.”

Badung Education head I Ketut Kontiyasa confirmed the department was aware that funds had been taken on behalf of 402 students but not for another 1282 students at the school.

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