One of the oldest dreams that I can still remember until now happened when I was in the sixth grade of elementary school, a few days before EBTANAS (National Final Learning Evaluation). I dreamed that the road to school was flooded, and as a consequence, I came late to the school and was not allowed to do EBTANAS. The classmates looked at me with pity, and I was confused if none of them encountered the flood on their way to school this morning?
Maybe it was my subconscious, at that time I was tense and stressed about the test. Not only I can still remember visually, but I also remember the feeling when I was struggling through the flood to get to the school (in a dream). I got a fairly high NEM‘s (Student Evaluation Mark) mark: 41.86. I remember its “zero and coma” because I was happy that I could use the final result to enter a favourite public junior high school. What’s absurd, I got a perfect score for Civic Education subject. Hahaha… the perfect score 10 for a subject that teaches morality and norms as citizens.
I have a daughter, a 1st-grade elementary student. I am curious if the national final examination today is still as same as in the old days? Or do the content and tension remain the same? Then I bring this question to Ayu Oktariani. Ayu has a 6th grader daughter. She also has a cafe, a siomay stall, a futsal academy, a community event called the Panggung Minoritas (Minority Stage), a role as an activist for People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and a skill to draw Mandala. How amazing she is, a strong woman with lots of activities inside and outside the house.
During the examination period April—May, since when did you feel tense?
The tension was felt since Malika was in the 4th grade. Because at that time, she got a homeroom teacher who was less cooperative and didn’t focus on teaching. So in the fourth grade, we didn’t have any learning material at all, while one of the national exam materials come from what we got in the fourth grade.
Since your daughter entered the 6th grade, did you cut her extracurricular activities?
I don’t want to cut any, but it’s not possible to keep running the extra-activities plus the additional lessons. I’m worried about her being physically pushed too much by giving her subject materials 3 times more than before in 4th grade and 5th grade.
What was the most annoying stuff during the preparation for the exam?
If she is sick or if she is too relaxed.
If our child is too relaxed, the mom gets grumpy. Why doesn’t he/she learn? Can he/she do the exam? There will be lots of questions that trouble parents, while their children tend to not even think about it.
It is so annoying if the kid gets sick, huh? Either the illness that we can’t prevent, such as due to tiredness, the weather or infected by her fellows or the one caused by herself as she is too peculiar in school then she falls, her legs get spraining or bleeding and injured. I’m worried that she’s not at her best condition if she suddenly gets sick within the exam time.
For the sake of the exam, is there any daily learning pattern that has changed?
There is no changed learning pattern at home. Only other activities have been adjusted. For example, watching Youtube could be 6 hours per week before, now 3 hours is enough. Besides, the extra-activity follows the school schedule, there are additional lessons at school. That’s it, not excessive. It’s pitiful if all she has to do is studying only, she can get dizzy.
What do you think about the zoning system for the school’s student enrollment? Does this system solve the problem?
For me, the zoning system is beneficial for those who live near favourite schools although their marks shouldn’t let them academically in. Meanwhile, children with good marks but don’t live the favourite schools can’t have seats. As long as the quota is evenly distributed, I agree with it.
Which school do you expect your daughter to go to?
Mom’s expectation: I want her to go to Semi Palar. It seems to match her exploratory soul. But let’s forget it because it’s expensive, waiting list, and my husband does not approve.
Dad’s Expectation: He wants her to go to his ex-school, SMP 5 Bandung. Aside from that alumni thingy, the school is included in our area. So most probable our daughter will be accepted.
Daughter’s Expectation: SMP 5 or SMP 2, she thinks that the schools are quite favourite among many people and located very close so that she can go to school on foot from home.
If you can say something to the government about the national exam, what do you want to say?
We have experienced national examinations many times, I feel that the National Examination should be abolished. Because it is not relevant to study various kinds of knowledge for six years in elementary school, 3 years in junior high school and 3 years in high school, but the graduation is determined only through three subjects. For me, it’s very unfair.
Furthermore, I often wonder why there should be students who graduate and who don’t? Is the school solely a talent search stage? So those who aren’t talented don’t have the chance to graduate? Does one not pass because one is not capable, or because one has other talents/abilities on which one’s better at but not tested in the National Examination?
Based on what you observe so far, how are Malika’s friends? Is it true that some of them get sick from being nervous about facing the final exam?
Two weeks before the UN, 10 people of the classroom got sick including Malika. In Malika’s case, that’s because chickenpox infected by her dad, her mood is okay anyway. But about nine people, based on stories from their moms in the WA group, many of them were stressed of thinking about the exam so they fell ill. Not only being overly demanding against the homeroom teachers, but I think parents also have an important role to maintain children’s mood and avoid children from a psychosomatic illness. Those who fall ill on average are children of the super-strict parents.
The final exam is stressful, but is Malika also enthusiastic about going to level up to high school level?
Malika is a laid back kid and even so, she studies well. She’s enthusiastic but not too much. She began to ask a few questions about the junior high school, she asked if the lessons would be more difficult, the extracurricular subjects were interesting. But last time he suddenly asked me either she would wear a long or short skirt in junior high school. My answer is I don’t know. He said that she would be happier if she could wear short skirts because it would be more comfortable and simple.
Oh yes, one indicator of her enthusiasm is that every time we pass SMP 5, she will say “THIS IS MY JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL” or she asks for the legitimacy from his parents “Look, who is in this school?” Then we replied, “Malika”.
Is there anything fun, emotional, or exciting about you staying beside your kid for the exam?
I think nothing is fun, it’s like the way it is. It’s somewhat touching anyway because I remember the journey when she entered school for the first time until he moved to Bandung. How fast it is. Children don’t have a burden, school is always exciting for Malika. She never had a reason not to go to school. She is typically a kid who does not like to skip school. So I’m just nervous about her going to junior high school, will she still enjoy school. Hopefully, the burden of learning does not make her lose the pleasure of socializing with friends. I am so touched because she’s a big girl now!
What is the role of your husband, what are tasks shared with him during the national exam?
For me, I never give Malika a heavy learning burden. Her dad does otherwise. He reminded her to learn harder and harder. For her dad, school is very important. Especially for going to public school and becoming a graduate like himself. So it seems like he copies his parents’ education methods towards his daughter. While I’m the type of person who believes that learning can be done anytime, anywhere, and in any way. So I never stress her out because of studying.
Wow, now I also get tense while figuring out the exam that the 6th, 9th and 12th graders will have. Hopefully, it will be smooth-running for elementary, middle and high school students in answering exam questions. Plus, Ayu also often writes, you can read her articles at >>> www.sukamakancokelat.com