Jakarta The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, which is forcing students to study online from home, is becoming a trigger for many to drop out of school to work or get married, a senior official said.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic (began), KPAI has received complaints regarding school fees, especially at private schools. These cases have been resolved through mediation involving the local education office and supervisors of public and private schools,” Retno Listyarti, commissioner of education at the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), said in a press release received here on Wednesday.
Many parents sought discounts in school fees saying their children were studying from home, and some found themselves unable to pay school fees and had arrears in payments running between three and 10 months, she informed.
The complaints came from parents of children studying at early childhood education centers (PAUD), kindergartens, elementary schools, junior and senior high schools, and vocational schools, but mostly from private schools, she noted.
As many parents lost their jobs, children were forced to quit school and take jobs to support their families financially or get married at an early age, she added.
“KPAI has recorded that there were 119 students who got married, both male and female, whose ages ranged from 15 years to 18 years,” she informed.
School representatives visited the homes of students who did not join online study or submit their homework, she said.
During the visits, the school found out that many of those students were already married or were working, she added.
According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of Indonesians living in poverty rose by 2.76 million to reach 27.55 million of the population in September, 2020 from 24.79 million in September, 2019.
“The percentage of poor people increased by 0.97 percent to reach 10.19 percent from 9.22 percent,” BPS chief Suhariyanto noted during an online press conference recently.
The hike in poverty rate due to the pandemic could be curbed owing to the government’s social protection programs, he said.
Hence, despite an increase in the number of poor people, the figure is not as high as that projected by several international institutions, he pointed out.
Source: Antara News