Honesty Prize for Duo Who Exposed Indonesia Exam Scam
A mother and son who revealed mass cheating at a school in Surabaya have received an honesty award bestowed by the National Commission for Child Protection.
The award, the first given out by the agency known as KPAI, was presented to Siami and her son, Alifah Ahmad Maulana.
Acting on a report from Alifah, Siami told the press in early June of her suspicion of mass cheating at her son’s school, State Elementary School 2 in Gadel subdistrict, in the national examination for the sixth grade.
“Honesty is an expensive thing in these times, but it should be implanted from childhood,” said KPAI chairwoman Maria Ulfah Anshor, adding that honesty was an increasingly rare quality.
Maria said the award coincided with the launch of the KPAI’s “Movement of Indonesian Children for Honesty.”
“Somehow, I believe that there are still many honest people out there, but most of them are afraid to speak out the truth because there are threats from other people” Maria said.
She said the award was a symbol that honesty was not completely extinct in Indonesia.
“It is expected to provide motivation for others, especially children, to be honest wherever they are, from now until they mature later,” she said.
“I will wait for another Siami and Alif in Indonesia.”
Siami told the media that her son’s teachers had forced him to share the answers on his national examination with his classmates.
Her action angered the parents of the other students and led to them being forced to leave their East Java home town. Siami’s revelations led to the removal of the school’s principal and two of its teachers.
Magdalena Sitorus, a former KPAI commissioner, said children should not feel compelled to follow the erroneous wishes of adults out of fear or a desire to please the adults.
“Start with a small lie and then it will become a habit. That’s bad, because the children are the future of our country. Can you imagine what our country would be like in the future if prospective leaders are accustomed to dishonesty?” Magdalena said.
She added that parents and teachers had an important role to prevent that from occurring.
“This Siami case might be an example of similar problems in other schools that were never revealed. We need a figure like her to reveal this and fix the problem,” she said.
While being ostracized by the school and the parents of other students, Siami and Alifah’s courage had earned them widespread support and praise, including from Vice President Boediono, the People’s Consultative Assembly and members of the public.
Many students at Alifah’s school claimed they did not use the answers because they did not trust their accuracy. Education authorities decided against making students resit the test.