Semarang. Education and Cultural Minister Muhammad Nuh on Tuesday aired his displeasure over an English language exam question in Semarang that involved a story about honeymooning.
“We can study English, but the questions could be about local culture,” Nuh said while visiting state senior high school SMA 9 in Semarang, Central Java. “I found one reading comprehension [question] titled ‘Honeymoon.’ Probably because these high school students want to get married right after graduating.”
The English exam was part of the end-of-year school exams that are mandatory for grades 10 and 11.
Nuh said exam questions should instead make students aware of local tradition, social phenomena and interesting findings in local regions such as Central Java.
The headmaster of the school, Nasikhun, said the exam was not made by the school, but was the product of a Semarang headmasters’ forum.
In April, a Jakarta textbook supplement raised an outcry among parents due to its inclusion of a story about adultery. The story, “Bang Maman From Kali Pasir,” was about a married man’s mistress and was included in a cultural studies class.
Retno Listyarti, head of the Jakarta Teachers Consensus Forum (FMGJ), described the story as “just the tip of the iceberg.”
“There are actually far worse stories in primary school kids’ textbooks,” she said.