Thursday, May 8, 2008


I grew up without knowing what they call now national plus schools. I did not go there; my parents would not have been able to afford them. But more importantly, such national plus schools did not exist. But with all of them boasting they do better than non-plus ones do, I started my own search to find out if they really were better. And here are some of the facts you need to know.

1. To maintain quality education, they have always selected “only the best”.
I think their statement is very delusional. This is what happens; when the number of prospective students falls below the seat capacity, all of them are surely accepted and the admission test to select “the best” students is nothing but a phony activity. With each junior or senior high student confirmed to contributing more than one hundred million for the next three years, rejecting these money machines is so uneconomic, so irrational, so un-capitalistic. These schools are no non-profit organizations; they are corporations clothed in education.

2. They are better facilitated.
They boast the swimming pools, gyms, and even equestrian activities they have. But face it; they come at the expense of exorbitant fees charged to students. Any school could do that if they charged that amount to students. Those facilities are by no means desired but not deemed necessary for the classroom learning.

3. They guarantee they make better graduates.
For the last statement, I think it is very funny. Just go to UI and other outstanding public universities and ask those college students from which senior highs they come from and what you will most probably hear is "I am from SMA 14, SMA 12, SMA 100, sekolah negeri", with no national plus string attached. You may disagree with me but Indonesian parents send their kids to schools to enhance their kids’ eligibility for public universities, since graduates from public universities are still perceived to make better employees by job markets. And to me, these so called plus schools have not done enough to secure admission to those public universities.

I quit teaching there one week after.