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Smart card to whip Jakarta school aid into shape
Publication Date : 19-03-2013
The Jakarta administration says it wants to give money to poor students through its Jakarta Smart Card (KJP) scheme instead of the existing Education Operational Aid (BOP) program.
Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said at City Hall on Monday that the administration was considering whether private and public elementary and junior high school students would have to pay full monthly tuition if the BOP program is axed.
Under the BOP program created by the central government to support 12 years of compulsory education, students are exempt from paying monthly tuition fees.
However, only public schools receive full coverage of their operational expenses from the grant, while private schools receive funds covering 20 to 30 per cent of their costs.
“It is not fair for small private schools,” Ahok said, adding that all students were supposed to pay for their school’s operational costs. “The administration will pay for poor students through the smart card program.”
The administration previously announced plans to give students 240,000 rupiah (US$24.73) every month through the smart cards, which are similar to ATM cards, to pay for their school expenses, including transportation, books and shoes.
The allocation would comprise more than 25 per cent of the city’s 12.5 trillion rupiah total budget for education. The Education Agency has allocated 804 billion rupiah for the KJP program.
Basuki said that the administration was studying how to implement the KJP program. Cards would not be issued without verification and would be given to students based on other considerations, school evaluations on their eligibility.
The deputy governor encouraged Jakartans to monitor and report on the implementation of the program. “People can report online in a website. We will also provide access for the public to file reports in banks, schools and other places.”
Basuki said that students could monitor their card-holding friends. “If we find out that the cardholders are smoking or using a BlackBerry Dakota phone, for example, we will withdraw the cards.”
According to the latest data from the agency, 332,465 student between seven and 18 were eligible for the cards.
The agency aims to distribute the cards to all eligible students this year.