The government says that intelligence officers from the National Police will be on guard to stop cheating practices during the national exams that start on Monday.
Police officers supervised the printing and distribution of exams and would be on duty throughout administration of the exam, Deputy National Education Minister Fasli Jalal said on Sunday.
“Leaking the test will be considered a crime because it is a state secret. The police also will be monitoring the possibility of [people] purchasing and selling the test — or even fraud,” he told The Jakarta Post.
The officers would be in plainclothes and would remain outside at the schools to avoid frightening students, Fasli said.
The National Education Ministry has given full authority to the police as to how to monitor the exams, he said. “The number of officers deployed will depend on the risk at an individual school or area.”
The ministry has also prepared precautions to prevent cheating by students and schools, Fasli said, adding that Rp 67 billion (US$7.7 million) was budgeted for increased supervision and security in 2011, including printing more versions of the test than in previous years.
Representative from nearby university would also proctor the exams, he added.
Samsul Ridwan, the secretary-general of the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak), was critical of the security measures, saying that deploying police officers implied that there was a state of emergency.
“The national exams are an annual event. The government has made it look like a crime. We worry that this will make the students feel anxious,” Samsul told the Post.
He suggested that the government review its plan to deploy police officers for the exams.
“We think the officers’ deployment has no urgency. The mechanism of sending teachers from different schools to supervise other schools is enough to avoid cheating,” he said, adding that he hoped this year’s exams would be the last.
Teacher and education expert Retno Listyarti said the government has been overreacting.
“Last year they deployed [National Police counterterrorism unit]Detachment 88 to secure the test in several areas. This year, teachers who will be supervising [exams] will find out where they will be supervising just one day before the briefing,” she complained.
“Everything is full of secrets. This is a new form of terrorism.”
Retno, who chaired Jakarta Teachers Forum, said the government’s policies had created a mistrust between students and teachers.
“The government is very suspicious of us, teachers… This mechanism will not solve the real issue, which is the need of a new assessment mechanism for students graduating high school,” she said.
According to Retno, the existing system has greatly affected how schools set standards.
“Many teachers are asked by their superiors to increase student scores so they can reach a 100 percent graduation rate and the school will be considered successful. It is a massive cheat,” she said.
“The government has to find a new way to test student competence that would not cause ‘systemic cheating’,” Retno insisted. (swd)