Ahok Orders Jakarta Schools to Stop Collecting Illegal Fees From Parents
Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama lashed out at the capital’s education agency in a video posted to YouTube, giving the agency an ultimatum, either reform or look for a new job.
The deputy governor ordered the agency to crack down on the collection of illegal schools fees, a common practice in Jakarta’s free education system. Basuki threatened to freeze the budget of any schools that continued to demand fees from parents.
“There should be no more fees taken by schools,” Basuki said in the video. “Even at international schools, there should be no fees taken.”
Teachers who continue to ask for additional money will be asked to look for work outside the capital, he added.
“There should not be an extra lesson [fee] added to their salaries,” Basuki said. “The money managed by the school committee for [additional teacher] allowances is illegal. Ask [the teachers] whether they want to go to jail.”
The head of the Jakarta education agency Taufik Yudi argued that schools can ask parents to finance the operations of public international schools (SBI) and schools in the process of attaining international accreditation (RSBI).
But according to Basuki, all donations should be counted as revenue in the regional budget, not handled by individual schools.
“It should not be managed by the schools,” he said. “There should not be illegal fees managed by schools.”
The deputy governor’s comments came during a longer discussion of education reform in the capital. Basuki told the education agency that city administration will conduct regular audits of schools to cut down on wasteful spending.
“We will also audit the prices of student workbooks (LKS), to see whether it [the price] make sense or not,” Basuki said. “If it doesn’t make sense, we’ll replace the headmaster.”
Basuki also urged wealthy Jakartans to send their children to private schools instead of public international schools.
“If you’re rich and driving an [expensive Toyota] Alphard, please [send your children] to Al Azhar or Sekolah Pelita Harapan,” he said. “Our vision is clear, the schools for the gifted should only be for the poor. No rich students should go to these schools.”
Another video of Basuki reprimanding the Public Works agency went viral last week after it was posted to YouTube. The deputy governor slashed their budget by 25 percent and threatened to report them to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Attorney General if they skim money off inflated budgets.