The Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Ministry will implement a computer-based national exam in selected schools this year, although the results will not determine whether a student graduates.
The head of the ministry's Educational Evaluation Center (Puspendik), Nizam, said the computer-based exam would be held only in 862 out of 79,399 secondary schools nationwide.
"We have been extremely strict on which pilot schools can take the computer-based test this year. Most of the schools selected are senior high schools and vocational high schools as the students will be more knowledgeable about computers," he said.
Nizam said that both the computer-based and paper-based exam would have only multiple choice questions, and that the ministry had tested the computer-based exam extensively to make sure that students who took the computer-based exam would not have any advantage over those taking the paper-based test.
"Students will not be able to cheat by surfing the Internet because everything except for the exam questions will be blocked," he said.
Due to limited numbers of computers at each school, students will take the exam in shifts - one computer will be used by three different students.
In each shift, students will get different sets of questions to prevent cheating.
In spite of the elaborate methods to prevent cheating, the national exams will not carry much weight in determining whether a student graduates or not.
Individual schools will have sole authority over that decision.
The ministry said the national exam results would still be used as one of the requirements for university admission.
Last week, Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Anies Baswedan said he hoped the computer-based exam could be implemented nationwide next year because it would reduce the need for extensive security to transport exam materials.
With the new system, Anies expects national exam schedules can be more flexible and individual schools would not have to conduct the exams simultaneously.
Federation for Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) secretary-general Retno Listyarti told The Jakarta Post that the ministry should not insist on having a national exam, computer-based or otherwise, this year.
Retno pointed out that many schools lacked the facilities needed for a computer-based exam, such as computers and Internet connection.
"There are schools even in Jakarta that aren't ready, and it's the most developed city in the country," she said.