Roofs Come Tumbling Down at East Jakarta Elementary School
Lenny Tristia Tambun& SP/Natasia Christy Wahyuni
South Cipinang Besar State Elementary School 20 in Jatinegara, East Jakarta had the roofs of eight of its classrooms collapse at around midnight on Tuesday.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said from the site that he would ask Jakarta’s Education Agency to investigate the cause so that it could issue a technical recommendation to repair the damage and prevent the incident from happening again.
The school was undergoing a major renovation. Fortunately, the collapse took place during the late-night hours, when no students or construction workers were on the site.
Fauzi said that the investigation could result in criminal charges if the education agency found any violations in the planning or execution of the project, which was being funded with a block grant from the government.
The governor added that the repairs must be done immediately so that school activities could return to normal, including admitting students.
“This incident should serve as a lesson for other schools so that they will plan any reparations carefully,” Fauzi said.
SDN 20 Cipinang received Rp 318 million (34,000) in a block grant from the Ministry of Education to repair eight classrooms, a teacher’s room, the principal’s office and a musholla.
Based on regulations, schools that receive block grants may appoint a third party to handle the reparation projects.
Suyanto, an official at the Education Ministry, said the government would fix the damage at the school.
The ministry has also prepared funds in case the school needed a complete renovation or if repairs are needed on more than the eight buildings.
“Let’s just fix those that collapsed,” Suyanto said. “If it’s totally damaged and must be demolished, it’s not a problem. The important thing is that there weren’t any casualties.”
Regarding the possibility of embezzled renovation funds, Suyanto said that the government continued to monitor schools that received block grants with the help of an independent party, in this case the universities.
Schools are also required to submit data on the school’s condition, including photos of the school building before and after the renovation.
“There is a team to check on that,” Suyanto said.
He added that the school would be rebuilt if the damage was extensive.
The ministry is allocating between Rp 85 million and Rp 90 million to renovate each school building that was badly damaged.
Suyanto said the ministry had made school reparations one of its top priorities and allocated a budget of Rp 17 trillion for renovations for the 2011-2012 period taken from the state budget.
The government plans to make repairs on 173,000 school buildings.
The ministry will also make a proposal for additional funds for school building renovation in this year’s state budget revision, Suyanto said.
“All renovations should be completed this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the school has asked all of its students to remain at home until all of the roofs are fixed at the school.