A plan to conduct virginity tests on female students entering high school in the town of Prabumulih, South Sumatra, has drawn criticism from various quarters.
'The test will be implemented in 2014 and will be paid for out of the city budget,' Prabumulih Education Agency chief HM Rasyid said on Tuesday. He said the test was aimed at reducing vice crimes committed against students.
Rasyid was optimistic the test would have a positive impact, as it would steer female students away from 'negative activities'.
'This is for their own good,' he added.
The agency chief admitted that the plan still faced a stumbling block regarding human rights.
A guidance counselor at state high school SMAN 3 Prabumulih, Deny Trisna, questioned the policy.
'What will we do with female students who are no longer virgins?' he asked.
Deny said the idea for the virginity test might have stemmed from revelations that many students were involved in promiscuity at the Prabujaya field, as well as reports of human trafficking activities involving female students.
The South Sumatra Woman Crisis Center (WCC) director, Yeni Roslaini, also rejected the plan, saying it would violate human rights, as virginity was a private matter. 'The city administration should assess the impact it would have on students,' she said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Prabumulih branch of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), Ali Usman, strongly rejected the plan because it would cause negative repercussions in society.
South Sumatra Legislative Council deputy speaker HA Djauhari also rejected the plan, saying that the city administration and education agency should foster positive attitudes among youths.
'There are female students who may have lost their virginity due to an accident. It is not their fault.'
Newly elected Prabumulih Mayor Ridho Yahya, a politician from the Golkar Party, has yet to comment on the plan.
In Jakarta, Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh said such a test was a pointless idea.
'What should be done if [a female student] had done it [had sex]? Should [she] be banned from school, or what?' Nuh asked reporters at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.
'Should there be a virginity test for male students as well? Does such a test exist?'
Hasrul Azwar, member of the House of Representatives' Commission VIII overseeing religion from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said that it was necessary for schools to carry out virginity tests once in a while due to rampant promiscuity among students.
'Virginity is sacred, thus, it's a disgrace for a [female] student to lose her virginity before getting married,' he said. 'I suggest the [Prabumulih] schools only inform parents about the results of the test. They don't need to publicly announce the results.'