Indonesian Schools

Hi guys. In future posts, I may talk about school and stuff, so maybe it’d be best if I explained a bit about how schools work in Indonesian.

First and most importantly, elementary school is 6 years and not 5. Hence, middle school is from 7th to 9th grade and high school is from 9th to 12th grade (thus destroying the term ‘sophomore’).

Between elementary school (SD) and middle school (SMP), you have to take a mandatory national exam, which has three subjects; Indonesian, Math, and Science. The next school you go to is very much effected by these three things.

In middle school, things are still very much like elementary school. The natural sciences haven’t split and become their own subjects yet, and remain together simply as ‘Science’. Also, there isn’t really a structured credit system, and everything just follows the curriculum.

Now in high school, things change. There are paths you can go along. You can either be a Math & Natural Science student or a Social Studies & Humanities student. In other schools, there are Literature or Art categories, but in my school, there aren’t.

Indonesia is very biased and people often get pressed into Science when they don’t really belong there, because ‘if you’re a science student, you can go wherever you want. If you’re a social studies student, you’re limited’.

Things also vary depending on the school and curriculum.

Oh, and some teachers don’t give their full effort teaching you. Tardiness and stuff doesn’t matter, because they’re teachers! So if you go to school in Indonesia and this stuff happens, don’t fret. It’s just Indonesian nature.

Here’s another thing. Here in Indonesia there are state schools that are operated by the government, which are usually named by a simple number. I go to SMAN 5 Bandung or State High School 5 of Bandung. There are also private schools, which vary in quality, and there is an undeniable correlation between quality and price (remember that).

The extracurricular activities are also pretty cool, I guess. Scouts (pramuka), PMR (Red Cross), and Paskibra (the guys in charge of ceremonies and raising the flag) are standards. My school is famous (I mean it) for its extracurricular activities, and I’ll elaborate on future posts.

That should suffice as a short guide.


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