IT IS not exactly unusual for children to cheat at school. But Indonesians have learned recently that their teachers add a new twist to a familiar tale: ordering their own pupils to cheat, even if they do not want to. Not surprisingly, the revelation has led to an anxious debate about whether anyone can trust the grades of millions of young men and women who come onto the labour market each year in South-East Asia’s biggest economy.
The scandal came to light at the beginning of June when the mother of a 13-year-old boy in Surabaya, in eastern Java, told the local media that her son had been forced by his teachers to share his answers to a national exam with his classmates. The mother, Siami, first complained to the school but was ignored. So she took her story to a local radio station.