Minister of Education and Culture declares war on seat-swapping

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Muhadjir Effendy. (photo: IO/Yoga)

IO, Jakarta Minister of Education and Culture Muhadjir Effendy said that he would never allow the growth of the practice of trading of seats in the New Educational Participant Acceptance (Penerimaan Peserta Didik Baru – “PPDB”) process. He reiterates that fighting against this dirty practice is one of his primary duties. “It’s not that I don’t know that some people trade for seats. Officials have requested seats for their children even though registrations are closed. Therefore, registrations were re-opened to accommodate these “new classes”. Never mind, what happened has happened, and that is exactly what we need to change. In any case, as long as such frauds are allowed to grow in the educational sector, don’t hope for Indonesia’s advancement. My primary duty is to fight against this kind of thing,” Muhadjir said at the Primary Hall, Building A of the Ministry of Education and Culture Office in Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday (08/07/2019).

Muhadjir then touched on the mass corruption perpetrated by the members of the Regional House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah – “DPRD”) of Malang. According to him, one of the reasons why these honorable members of the House were arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”) is the issue of setting aside and pre-distributing seats in schools. “In my region (Malang), one of the reasons DPRD members were arrested en masse by KPK was over the issue of setting aside and pre-distributing seats in schools. Are we going to allow that? I think that we all agree that we need to prioritize education if we want a proper and honest Indonesia,” he said.

Muhadjir further stated that anyone involved in the trading of seats must be punished severely. He is letting this fully resolved by law enforcement. “In any case, we need to be strict. If it’s a proven crime, let the regional government resolve it, what matters is that some law enforcement is involved. Such crimes have their own law, it’s related to disciplining. Depends on how we look at the case,” he said.

Furthermore, Muhadjir stated that he is evaluating the zoning system that will be implemented in the PPDB next year. He will be communicating with the regional government about this issue. “Naturally, we need to constantly evaluate ourselves. We are preparing for next year’s zoning program now. We are collecting facts from the field to be reconstructed, to make decisions for next year’s zoning. We will talk to Regional Governments about what we are going to do next year, what the system will be like. We need to confirm to empty areas,” he said.

Among those who spoke about the suspicion of seat trading practices in PPDB is Ombudsman Ahmad Suadi. He requests that schools return the “reservation money” they have received from dishonest parents. “There are some cases in West Java, specifically Bogor, but we are not attempting to expose them but to resolve them. So in cases like that, this money game, we try to mitigate it, to return the money as much as possible. The school must return the money,” said Ombudsman Ahmad Suadi at the Ministry of Communications and Informatics’ Office at Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, on Sunday (1/7/2019). Suadi further stated that the Ombudsman does not handle legal issues in that case. However, if the school fails to return the money, the Ombudsman will report the case to the police. (dsy)