Thursday, September 11, 2008

Angry Students Write About Penabur

The following letter has been occasioned by the receipt of emails, over the past two years but several in the past month, from former students of BPK Penabur programmes. I am keeping their names confidential because, as one has written today, "if someone know that I give out this information, Penabur will do something bad for my degree, because as you know Penabur can do anything .... "

It is certainly time for the atmosphere of intimidation engendered throughout the educational establishments of BPK Penabur, among teachers, students - but not, thankfully, parents (see below) - to cease.

Greetings former students of Penabur.

Many of you may not know that I have been involved in a legal case for two years against BPK Penabur for unfair dismissal. Depnaker (the Department of Manpower) in our favour, but the judge at Pengadilan Hubungan Industrial (the Industrial Relations Court) overturned the ruling, a surprise as this is almost unprecented. We are now waiting for the Supreme Court to overturn the PHI ruling and find in our favour - again.

You can read about the case here in Bhs. Indonesia and here in English:

What is sad, but an indication that Penabur is not well-managed, is that there are many teachers, both local and Indonesian who have been treated badly by BPK Penabur, who have also had to follow the legal route.

I know of teachers, both local and expat, who have ended up in hospital following their very bad treatment by the BPK Board, and of another teacher who had to sell his house in order to sponsor his own visa ~ UPI refused to process his exit permit or pay for the work he had already done.

Not one teacher ever leaves Penabur happy. Happy to leave, yes, but only because of the very unhappy situation they find themselves in, and very rarely, if ever, on mutually agreeable terms.

Not only teachers, but parents and, especially, you have been lied to, generally in the name of 'profitability'. To me, a lifelong educator, I find this to be both cynical and unforgivable, especially coming from an organisation which claims to be Christian. (Remember the story of Jesus and the moneylenders - Mathew 21.)

I have received emails from you, not only expressing disappointment at my dismissal, but also saying that you had misgivings about Penabur.

Some quotes:

1. I hope that you will win the case against Penabur... because my experience as being a student of Ukrida Penabur Internasional for almost three years was completely dissapointing ....

It started from the promises from the board member of UPI association, Mr.Sonny
(Hartono). He promised the students that UPI would build a new building 1 year after my enrollment to UPI....but the fact is, there is no one single building for UPI!

Second, I graduated in November 2005 from my high school; one of the reasons why I chose UPI was that they promised that they will open the Foundation degree on Feb 2006. The fact was, they postponed the program until June 2006, they lied to me for the second time....

Third, when I entered, UPI promised us that they will give native and expat lecturers, but we had many more local lecturers rather than native... the comparison is 1 native lecturer and 5 local ones, so we didn't really experience an International Environment like UPI promised to the Students and Parents.

2. All the foundation students don't agree with the increasing for tuition fees .... because at the first time we join the UPI, Chris (the former head of Curtin Uni sponsored programme) said that there would not be any raise. UPI increases the tuition fee, but they doesn't improve the fasilities such as computer access and student lounge ..... The Internet connection is also very bad ..... I don't know why they are doing this to the students.....

3. Our Accounting lecturer was an ex-pilot and had no experience in teaching but there he was.

I heard that Curtin wanted their students to move to Curtin Perth or Sydney on their third year, but UPI refused to cooperate and they said their students have to finish their studies here, unless the students actually wanted to move there. Thus, Curtin decided to cooperate with INTI College here instead.

4. From a former Senior High School student, now working in the USA.
I was disappointed to some of their decisions on P321 and PPBS. Other than that, they do need some serious wake up calls. I really hope you win this case.
(P3-21 -> Program Pembinaan Pemimpin - Abad 21 -> Leadership guidance program for 21st century.
PPBS -> Program Pembinaan Bakat Siswa -> Student talent guidance program.)


If any of you still have grievances against Penabur, I would like to hear from you and I will respect your privacy and confidentiality. You can email me here.

Anyway, now that you are no longer a Penabur student, I hope that your studies and life are to your satisfaction.

Best wishes.

PS. Please feel free to pass this email on to former Penabur/UPI students