Monday, August 07, 2006

Acceleration Program

Some days ago Angie told me about her friend’s problem. Her parents forced her to take acceleration program but she herself was not willing to do that.
If I am not mistaken since four years ago, Indonesia has applied acceleration programs at school. Elementary school level that usually covers six years of study will only need four years for those who take acceleration program. Junior high school level will only need two years that normally takes three years. Senior high school level also applies the same thing.
Not all schools offer acceleration programs for the students. It is understandable if only good schools get the permission from the government to have this program.
A child normally needs 12 years to cover elementary, junior, and senior high school. If he/she starts going to elementary school when he/she 6 years old (recently there is a requirement that a child is at least 6 years old to start going to elementary school), he/she will be 18 years old when graduating from senior high school and then continue to a higher education—college/university.
I don’t really know the significance of the government to have acceleration program. To cut the time needed to study only? A child will only need 8 years to finish from elementary school until senior high school. He/she will be around 14 years old to continue to college. If he/she needs four years to finish the bachelor’s degree, he/she will be 18 years old. What is the next step? Normally, he/she will look for a job. To continue to a higher degree, such as master’s degree until doctorate’s degree is not widely spread yet in Indonesia. Many people feel it enough already to have a bachelor’s degree. Compared to around three decades ago, graduating from senior high school only was enough to look for a job.
To join acceleration program, there are a series of tests that must be followed by a student: besides tests on some major subjects (Physics, Biology, Mathematics, English, etc), a student must reach a certain IQ, take an aptitude test, psycho test, and some other things. The school fee is also much more expensive compared to the students who take the usual program.
And as usual, when a parent forces his/her child to join such a program, I am of opinion that it is only for the parent’s prestige (that he/she has a very smart, also that he/she can afford to pay the high school fee). It is different if the child himself/herself wants to take it. As a parent, of course, we must support that.
Coming back to Angie’s friend’s problem—her parents forced her to join the acceleration program, I told Angie this whole history (what is the significance of joining such a program? What benefits for the student to get?) Okay when she finishes senior high school at a younger age compared to the others, the parents feel proud of that. but then what? From my experience so far, people will not pay attention to someone’s age when graduating from a college then looking for a job. Many other people look for a job only after graduating from senior high school. And from my observation so far, it is not a guarantee that someone graduating from college will always get a better job/position compared to those who just graduate from senior high school.
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