Minister suggests Jakarta schools close during Asian Games, students get credit for studying games instead

This photograph taken on March 4, 2017 shows officials visiting a venue for the 2018 Asian Games at Senayan sport complex in Jakarta.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) warned on March 6 Indonesia faces “huge” challenges to prepare for the 2018 Asian Games, criticising a lack of coordination between different bodies organising the event. / AFP PHOTO / BAY ISMOYO
This photograph taken on March 4, 2017 shows officials visiting a venue for the 2018 Asian Games at Senayan sport complex in Jakarta. The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) warned on March 6 Indonesia faces “huge” challenges to prepare for the 2018 Asian Games, criticising a lack of coordination between different bodies organising the event. / AFP PHOTO / BAY ISMOYO

While preparations for the Asian Games, which will begin on August 18 and be hosted by both Jakarta and Palembang, seem to generally be on track, one major concern that still remains is how the Jakarta government will handle all of the additional traffic that the games will bring to the capital (which will of course only add to Jakarta’s already notorious macet). As the second biggest multi-sport event in the world after the Olympics, it is estimated that the games will bring up to 3 million tourists to the capital this year.

One suggestion that has been floated is actually giving all public schools in Jakarta a holiday during all or part of the Games, which will end on September 2. The effectiveness of such a measure in alleviating traffic is already hard to gauge, but on top of that there are concerns about the effect shutting down the schools for such a long time would have on Jakarta students’ education.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani had an idea about how to handle that which she recently shared with Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno during a coordination meeting for the games.

“The proposal from Ibu Puan is that if (the students were given a holiday during the Asian Games) it would result in accreditation difficulties for some schools because they would have too many days off, so we would assign them to participate in the activities of the Asian Games as a school task,” Sandiaga said today as quoted by Kompas.

As an example, Sandiaga said students could be given assignments such as writing papers about the Asian Games or interviewing athletes. They can also learn from interacting with athletes and tourists using their foreign language skills.

However, Sandiaga said any such decision would still require significant study and wouldn’t be made for some time. He said a decision would likely be made in June.

When the Indonesian government accepted hosting duties for the Asian Games in 2014, it was hoped that some of the public transportation systems currently under construction, including the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) would be ready in time to help handle logistics for the Games, but it is extremely unlikely that either will be ready for public use by then.

Do you think shutting down schools during the Asian Games is a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.

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