Joko Plans to Abolish National Exam for Younger Students

Indonesian students' test results consistently rank below the global average, despite large-scale budget allocation for schools. (AFP Photo/Aman Rochman)

By : SP/Arnold Sianturi | on 11:52 PM June 10, 2014
Category : News, Education, Featured

Medan. Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential hopeful Joko Widodo on Tuesday said that he would eliminate Indonesia's national exam for elementary and junior high school students if elected.

“It's better if there's no national exam for students in elementary school and junior high school,” Joko said at a teachers' workshop in North Sumatra. "It's better to look stupid but be smart, rather than to look intellectual but be stupid. It's better to listen to people's opinion rather than act like a know-it-all.”

The teachers said “Amen.”

He was referring to controversy surrounding the exam: critics have argued that the test is so difficult that it encourages rote learning and memorization aimed at achieving a high exam score rather than depth or subtly of comprehension.

Education Minister Muhammad Nuh last year said that he would eliminate the elementary school exam in 2014, which he did. But the government replaced it with a new, similar test, 75 percent of which was written by local education agencies and 25 percent of which was written by the central government.

Show More