M. Syahruzzaky Romadloni
The new academic year is coming. Almost all schools, both state and private, are busy in managing new student enrollment. They do their best to attract parents send their children study there. It can be using interesting media such as pamphlets, brochures, ads (TV or newspapers), education expo, etc. Of course million rupiahs are spent to do this effort which is called in the business industry term “marketing”. Schools, however, will pay nothing in this case, as students pay them in the scheme of enrollment payment.
Unfortunately, some schools cannot join this annual euphoria since the government policies to establish more state schools in the region and the mainstreaming of vocational schools released. It obviously impacts some private schools which offer ‘conventional education programs’ for their students. They encounter the very serious problem; the number of enrolling students is decreasing year-by-year. When other schools are busy in welcoming new students, they think how to close the schools that have been established by their ancestors many years ago. You can imagine how to run the school programs well if you just have ten students in each grade!
Well, I’m not going to discuss these schools. Someday later I hope I can do.
Back to the topic.
Student enrollment which is held annually then bears new discriminating terms; favorite schools and non-favorite ones. The former always becomes the first destination of most parents while the later is the ‘escape’ or the ‘trash’ for the failed students. Most parents will do their best how to send their children in the ‘favorite’ schools, even by bribing their staff and paying the large sum of money! Unfortunately, in the competition, we always find ‘the winner’ and ‘the loser’. The winner will get what they want, while the loser must accept the fate that they should study in ‘non-favorite schools’.
It’s very funny, you know as I ever joined this competition twelve years ago. My father said that I’d better studying in a ‘favorite state junior high school’ and I successfully gave what my father wanted. I did it. Unfortunately, what I got in this school didn’t give me any good impression. My thought about favorite school was wrong. It neither had a library consisting thousand books nor a science laboratory where students can explore the scientific phenomenon. Teachers’ quality was the same with other schools’, I think. It could be seen from its teaching learning processes where many teachers still used the traditional teaching learning methods; lecturing. Yeah, everyone knows that many graduates of this school were accepted in ‘favorite’ high schools, but I still didn’t accept the reason why teachers gave us the answer in the national examination since all students would pass the test whatever score they got in the test. ‘It is for the sake of keeping the prestige of the school,’ they argued.
It proves that the terms ‘favorite’ and ‘non-favorite’ are just assumption not reality. Parents think that school ‘A’ is favorite but school ‘B’ is non-favorite, even what the later gives to students better than the former, they don’t really care! They have been deceived by the assumptions they make! I had experienced that the label ‘favorite school’ didn’t guarantee a better quality of education.
I have been a teacher right now, and everything doesn’t change at all, dude!
Two years ago my school celebrated its 10th anniversary. Expressing our deep gratitude, we held many programs such as free-circumcision for 100 children, language Olympiad, free seminar for teachers, students’ movie and book launching, etc. Since then, the number of annual enrollers is always overloaded. The rate of parents’ trust to the school is increasing significantly year-by-year.
This year the number of enrollers to my school reaches 600 students, but the capacity is for 400 students. This condition then bears different responses among school leaders. A group says that we’ve to accept all students for they come with a good intention; willing to study in an Islamic atmosphere. How come we refuse children who want to study in pesantren? It is unreasonable and sinful to refuse someone who wants to do a good deed, they argue. Another group, however, states vise-versa. We cannot accept all students as we don’t have enough facility to give them the best service of education. Classrooms, dormitories, toilets, and water are among crucial facilities that we cannot provide in a short time. We’re afraid we cannot do the trust the parents burden on our shoulders if we’re still lack of facilities.
The controversy continued last night when I joined a meeting for discussing the result of the enrollment test. The meeting participants are divided into two groups: the old and the young. I took part in a hot discussion and very often got criticized by the old, and you know that the young should wholeheartedly let the old use their authority and power to decide. ‘The king will never do wrong!’ the English proverb warns me.
Nevertheless, I won’t give up. I still believe that I can do something for the betterment of our education. 🙂
Thursday, May 31, 2012