Parents have been more than enthusiastic to see the realization of the Kartu Jakarta Pintar (Jakarta Smart Cards) program since Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo launched it last year.
Among them are Uyuk Heri and Samsiar, sellers of mineral water and fruity beverages in Klender traditional market in Jatinegara, East Jakarta.
The husband and wife hoped their son, Akmal, a vocational school student, would get a monthly stipend of Rp 240,000 (US$24) from the second batch of the program to support his school activities.
The second batch began late last month, ran only for a week and ended early this month.
Uyuk said he immediately completed all necessary documents to apply for a relief letter at the Jatinegara Kaum subdistrict office as soon as his son told him about the requirements of the program.
But he had to spend money before his son even had the luck of being part of the program.
“The process to get the relief letter cost me Rp 40,000 [starting from the neighborhood unit through to the subdistrict office], but my son did not get the fund. His teacher only told him that it wasn’t his luck,” he told The Jakarta Post recently.
Not knowing about the requirements for the program, Karmanto, a meatball seller, also was unhappy after learning that his kid, an achieving student, did not get the card.
“The name of the program is a smart card, so I guess the fund should go to smart and needy children like mine,” he told the Post.
The program is a continuation of a similar one called Rawan Putus Sekolah (Dropout Prone Students), which began under former governor Fauzi Bowo’s term.
The smart card program, which gives the same amount of money as the previous one, is expected to reach a greater number of deprived students, irrespective of their residencies as long as they study in the capital.
Education Agency head Taufik Yudi said that last year, the city funded 9,600 senior high school and vocational school students, out of a quota of 10,000 students, under the program.
The remaining 400 students, he said, failed to get the fund due to incomplete administration. The agency has set a quota of 332,465 students this year and a longer period of submission.
The agency has received 81,000 applications as of March from public and private elementary, junior high, senior high and vocational high schools.
“This program does not take students’ achievements at school into consideration. It is intended for needy students to help finance their personal costs, such as transportation, school uniforms and stationary. We will try to better familiarize parents with this information,” he told the Post.
“Those who did not get the fund last year could apply again this year,” Taufik said, adding that information about the program was available on the agency’s official website, disdikdki.net.
Some schools familiarize their students with the program by announcing it in class, but give them an insufficient period of time to complete the process.
“We only had a week to submit the students’ applications. The last day was quite a mess as some parents were upset because their relief letters were still being processed,” Suratno, the principal of Dharma Bhakti junior high school in East Jakarta, told the Post, adding he was still keeping late submissions for the next batch.
Meanwhile, Yani, an administration officer at Malahayati vocational school in East Jakarta, said she was afraid that some 11th grade students who were on their three-month internship programs would be left out.