Lately there is a raised anxiety and enthusiasm over the national exam in the Indonesian media. This roots from the verdict returned by the (Indonesian) Supreme Court that the govt cannot impose national exam anymore on Indonesian schools. However, it is still not clear to me whether the national exam will be completely removed or not from our schools in the foreseeable future. People, mainly who failed in the exam and their parents pound away at the national exam and they fully support the removal of the national exam. Experts at education are also still in hot wrangles upon this issue, some oppose the national exam though some others approve it. On this article I would like to babble on this issue based on my own amateurish points of view. I do not want to go into the legal raisons d’être of it since it is not my strong suit.
Do I think that we need to keep the national exam within our schools? I would personally say yes. But of course with some adjustments here and there. National exam is needed because it acts as a meterstick (being a natural metric measurer I steer clear of the word yardstick 😛 ) of our education with which students and teachers alike measure their performance. This meterstick of course is necessary to prevent a wider gap between the bests and the worsts countrywide. But considering the unequal development in educational infrastructures across the huge archipelago that meterstick should be temporarily bent a little to adjust to the local metersticks. In addition to that, the national exam must not become the sole element on which a student’s pass will be decided. Other elements such as the processes of the learning themselves are way more urgent to be taken into account.
Of course, there are so many things to do to improve our education. National exam alone is not a passport to an instant improvement. But I believe national exam could help directing our education at every nook and cranny of this country to stride in the same pace. And I firmly believe those who turn down the national exam out of hand are indeed bowing so low to their own past failure!