UN, IS IT NEEDED?
Nowadays, pros and cons towards the implementation of national examination, known as Ujian Nasional (UN), are widely generated. In discussing whether national examination is needed or not, it is necessary to examine a number of arguments, both supports and against. The controversy in this field has to be understood because besides education is a vital aspect in life, it also involves many people. Through education, society hopes the better life. The pros and cons become sharper because everybody feel as the one who is very know about education. Finally, what is happen just trial and error because the education policy often changing. Until one term appeared, changing minister means changing policy.
Society or the user of education result, generally, only sees the one side that the success of education is determined by result of national examination, or in Indonesia known as Ujian Nasional (UN). But, if it is discussed into a deeper one, almost all of the examination material just evaluate the cognitive aspect of students. If judgment is only done in examination time, can it represent the whole success of the students? The more important point now, is it really needed to hold final examination?
Based on the history of education experience in Indonesia, the judgment in the end of every education level is always done by final examination whether locally or nationally. From that examination result it can be determined whether one student can pass or not, moreover can continue his education level into higher one or not. Nevertheless, society does not see in the matter of it is local or national, but more in how education is able to bring their children into a better future.
Actually, the contradiction in term of discourse development is definitely positive. However, our system and education culture have not stable yet, so that it still needs the improvement day by day. But whatever the contradiction, it has to be directed into the productive and efficient point. Why it is important to state, is because, basically, every argument is good. Everyone hopes the improvement of education quality. The difference is laid on the way, including in this case is about final examination system. Some argue that final examination is not necessary to do. In the other hand, not a little amount of people argue that it is still needed.
Bagir (2005), one of those who express doubt about the implementation of final examination directs us to the question: After so many years UN is implemented in Indonesia, is there any improvement of our education quality? He thinks that everybody agree that the answer is negative, both in the academic point of view and character point of view, also in the term of innovation, creation, social responsibility, discipline, and others things that is definitely the aim of all education process, moreover, when we tied it with our international competence.
Furthermore, Sukirman (2005) resist if the final examination is the only one prerequisite of graduation. The success ness of education should not measure from the result of final examination only. There are so many factors that can influence students’ achievement in education field, such as sport, art, culture, etc. For instance, a student who has won sport competition in national level, but he is weak in term of academic. Is it fair if that student cannot graduate? It is a pity if in the determination of pass or not just considering the academic factor. Because in fact, in their future life, the one’s skill can involve in determining of how to face the very tight of life competition in order to survive.
One similar argument also comes from Hartono, Secretary General of Independent Teacher Federation of Indonesia, as stated in Pikiran rakyat (03/02/2205). He said that UN has negative side on students. The way of answering which is just blackening the circle in the answer sheet makes students not to take a big effort to study maximally. That way can give a change to students and committee to do cheating. Moreover, he also mentions that in coming UN, there is a degradation of appreciation towards the teachers of subject that will not be tested. There are only three subjects that will be tested, English, Indonesia language, and Math or Economics for those who are joined in social class. Students might be think the other subjects are not really important because the subjects that can determine one passes or not, in fact, just three subjects. He also adds that the implementation of final examination has to consider about the variety of quality and facilities in every school. For example, in English examination, listening test become a must in coming UN. It can be imagine how difficult a poor school finds an appropriate audio equipment to do the listening test.
Discussing about the passing grade, Sukirman (2005) argues that 4.25 need a re-considering. . It is make sense when we flashback to the result previous examination. There are many students did not pass the examination when the standard score is 4.01. If the reason is to improve teachers competence, the big possibilities that almost all teachers have tried to improve their students’ result maximally. But, input, facilities, environment also influence in determining the success of students.
The passing grade 4.25, National Education Department also give a change for those who have not ready to face examination or for those who do not pass the previous examination to follow the repetition of examination that is planned on October 2005. But, we have to consider that there will be problems occur. For example, if there is a student who has not ready or did not pass in the previous examination, and then he has to wait until October, is he still allowed to join the learning process? Or just wait in his home? How about the class amount which is already exists if there are students who have to join the learning process while the class is already joined by his junior? And how about the readiness of high education level in accepting the students who pass the second examination? Is there any school who will accept them? Or is there a new rule in this field? Those points have to be considered well before the planning of coming UN is implemented, so that society will be not in puzzling.
In another side, the Head of PersatUN Guru Republik Indonesia, Prof. Mohammad Surya, argues that this decision is based on the fact at the field, until right now Indonesia have no standard measurement of national education quality. He also mentions that anyhow, the standard of education must there. That is why UN is important as a means of education quality standard. Because there is no education quality standard yet, government decided that national examination policy still needed to be done this year.
The similar opinion is also mentioned by Masduki, the vice president of PKB fraction, DPR RI. He admits that he is not disagree towards national examination if its goal or aim is to mapping students ability, not as the prerequisite off graduation.
Furthermore, one of members of Komisi X DPR RI, Chudori Syafii sees national examination is still needed to be done. Thee most important thing is that students have to be saved. It is a must to do the national examination this year. It is strange, according to him, there is still anybody who does not want the national examination to be done. National examination is a good way to improve the quality and also to map education in Indonesia.
Thus, in summary, the pros and cons about the planning of national education implementation does not have to be done again and again when government and Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) have already decided. We appreciate this as a decision whatever the risk because basically, we do not want a very long and endless contradiction related to this. Commonly, in the pros and cons, there is also exist the moderate side, the combination among two sides. One of them is the gradually implementation or standard based on category. From the different determination of standard is hoped can lead the government to formulate the policy for the later development. Thus, the best way is to continuous do the effort to reach the goal that is the improvement of education quality which is more equal nationally through national examination as one of the ways.
Another solution is that UN can be a beneficial way if it is seen as assessment of education standard in Indonesia, not as a means of evaluation of learning process. Or, if it is used to a means of evaluation, it should be not the only way that can determine the passing or graduation. If a student want to continue into higher level of education, there is already exist the own filtering mechanism. For state university, there is SPMB, and for private university there is a similar examination also. Therefore after examining all the arguments, the national examination is still needed as long as it is for mapping students’ ability and it is not only one thing that can determine students’ passing. Moreover, before implementing it, there are several points that should be considered in order to reach the goal as precise as possible.