Hopes for Top Marks in National Tests

DENPASAR

Thousands of high school students sat their national exams last week, with the authorities hoping for a 100% pass rate.

The annual tests went ahead amidst tight security intended to prevent cheating and corruption.

Speaking ahead of the tests, Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said that he hoped that Bali would repeat its 2010 feat of seeing every student pass.  Last year just ten students across the island failed the tests from a total of 24,290 participants.

“We want 100% to succeed in an honest manner, obviously,” Pastika said.

Head of the Bali Education Department Anak Agung Gede Sujaya said that measures had been taken to return the pass rate to 100%, with department staff checking up on the schools where students had failed in 2011.

“We’ve done evaluations of schools that have had unsuccessful results. We’ve done workshops and have routinely done try outs,” he said.

The papers for the exams were delivered to Bali late last week, and were kept under a military guard at the Udayana military base before being distributed to schools.  In previous years there have been numerous incidents across Indonesia of test papers being stolen and sold to students by corrupt officials ahead of exam day.

Sujaya said that to avoid such incidents the number of papers sent to Bali matched exactly the number of students registered for the tests.

“The number of papers is exactly the same as the number of students participating in the national tests,” he said, adding that the department had coordinated with the police over exam security and distribution of the papers.  The papers were initially forwarded to police posts across Bali over the weekend before being delivered to schools in time for the exams on Monday.

Sujaya said that all the individual batches of papers were locked in secure containers with triple keys.

“They cannot be opened by only one party, because the keys are held by three parties,” he said.

There were some glitches on the test day, with language papers delivered to two schools in Denpasar turning out to be blank.

German tests handed out to students at the Muhamadyah High School and French papers for students at State Senior High School 2 were blank.

Sujaya said that copies were obtained from other schools and then photocopied by department staff, allowing the tests to go ahead after a minor delay.

There was a further mix-up in Amlapura in Karangasem, where the wrong papers were delivered to two high schools, but Sujaya said that the problem was rectified after a short delay.

Meanwhile, education officials in Badung revealed that nine students registered for the tests in the regency had failed to show up on Monday, two of them because they had recently died.

“Of the nine who did not sit the exams, two had died after registering, and the other seven were sick,” said head of Education, Youth and Sports in Badung, Ketut Widiastika.

Widiastika said he did not know the details of the students who had died, but he said that those who were sick would be allowed to sit the tests next week.

“There is a supplementary examination opportunity, provided they have a valid reason for missing it,” he said.

Widiastika said that only students with a valid doctor’s certificate were permitted to postpone sitting the exams, and while those who were not seriously ill were obliged to go ahead with the tests, it was necessary to allow some flexibility.

“Rather than forcing students to do the tests in a poor condition, it’s better to let them delay it,” he said.

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