At least 100 children who live in the Marunda low-cost apartment complex in Cilincing, North Jakarta, are unlikely to attend their first day of elementary or junior high school in the new academic year, which begins on Monday, July 15.
The children had failed to meet certain admissions requirements for state schools in their area, including the minimum age of 7 for enrolling in elementary school.
The conundrum is that most of Marunda’s residents moved to the apartment complex under an eviction and relocation plan that was implemented in 2012 during Jokowi’s tenure as Jakarta governor., whereas the school zoning system was introduced in 2017.
The school zoning system was part of the government’s education reform measure to encourage academic and student diversity at state schools and to prevent bias among parents for enrolling their children at “favorite” schools.
Nasurullah Dompas, the head of Marunda subdistrict’s RW10 community unit that has jurisdiction over the apartments, said that the children’s parents planned to write to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to ask for an alternative solution, including the possibility of waiving the admissions requirements for their children.
“If we speak to [Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan], no solution will come of it. At least we can get in touch with President Jokowi, because the eviction was [Jokowi’s] plan,” Dompas said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com, adding that 80 percent of the approximately 11,000 people who lived in the apartments were evictees.
Dompas said that the 100 children who were facing the possibility that they might not be able to attend school included 61 children who were to start elementary school.
The remaining 39 children were unable to advance to junior high, as they did not pass the National Exam – an admissions requirement for the 290 state junior high schools in the area that they are eligible to attend under the school zoning system.
Dompas claimed that the children had been told to enrol in private schools instead.
However, most of their parents face financial constraints and are likely unable to afford the tuition and other fees that private schools charge.
“[Marunda residents] are mostly evictees who were relocated from various areas. They don’t earn much,” said Dompas. (vla)