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JBIC Schools Project


In the 1990s, the Government of Indonesia had received assistance from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to support Junior Secondary Education projects in 14 provinces and the fund had been used to construct 584 new junior secondary school buildings between 1996 and 1999.  In March, 2002 I was asked by the Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc (MRI) to participate in a building condition survey of the schools constructed by the project.  This was on the basis of the work that I had been doing for the World Bank on primary and secondary school design and construction in the country. The survey would be part of a larger study that MRI had been commissioned to carry out by JBIC on the overall impact of the project and on the basic education sector in Indonesia.

As part of the study, MRI had been asked by JBIC to assess the condition of the schools that had been constructed using JBIC funds and MRI wanted me to join a team of local architects and engineers who were to carry out a study to assess the quality of the original construction works and the then current condition of 214 junior secondary schools constructed between 1998 and 1999 in 12 provinces.

My role was to develop a survey instrument (see Building Condition Survey) which would assist with the assessment of the condition of the schools and help the Team Leader in training the engineers who would carry out the assessments in the use of the instrument before they started their surveys.  I was then to assist the team leader in writing the final report.

The team eventually visited all of the schools, collected the necessary information, set out the cost of remedial works and assessed the sustainability of the schools.  I visited one district (Kabupaten Garut in West Java Province) and participated in the survey of three schools.  See Building Condition Survey, Garut.

The Results of the Study

The main problems identified by the study concerned the type and location of the sites, the student occupancy rates, the design of the buildings, the specification of materials, the standard of construction and finishes, furniture, water supplies, sanitation and maintenance.

While the majority of the sites were assessed as being suitable for construction and well located, a significant minority (20%) were assessed as being either unsuitable for construction or badly situated in terms of access for students.

Large numbers of the schools had either too many students or too few but all schools were constructed with the same number of classrooms (9) which assumed a total student population of 360 in three streams with standard class sizes of 40 students and this was therefore in some cases, a waste of resources.

There were a number of design problems the main one being the design of the roof.  All roofs were very complicated and difficult to build which must have contributed to the large number of leaking roofs and damaged ceilings.  The layout of the school buildings was also not very good with some buildings on all sites facing east-west which, together with a lack of protection from the sun, would have meant overheating of rooms, especially in the afternoons.

A number of problems had been caused by the specification of poor quality materials particularly door locks, window fittings and sanitary fittings especially taps.

All the schools were constructed by contractors supervised by construction consultants following the traditional bidding process and the standard of construction was generally quite poor even though the cost of construction was generally high. A variety of construction problems were identified but the main ones were roof leaks, damage to ceilings and cracks to walls. While not taking away from the contractors the responsibility to construct good quality buildings, many of the construction problems could have been avoided if there had been adequate professional supervision which does not seem to have taken place.

The standard of finishes in many buildings, particularly the painting and in some cases the electrical installations was also very poor and some schools were not even finished.  Again, much of this could have been improved with proper supervision.

The quality of furniture in many schools was very poor and a lot of it was damaged or broken.

There were problems with water supplies and sanitation at many of the schools and with the water reticulation within the sites and with the quality of the sanitary fittings.  Most of these problems could again have been avoided if the consultants had carried out their duties properly.

There were maintenance problems at the majority of schools mainly because of inadequate funding from government but even at schools that stated that they raised further funds for maintenance through parents associations very little maintenance seems to have been carried out.

The problems therefore were generally similar to those found at the junior secondary schools built by contractors under the World Bank Junior Secondary Education Projects and while the contractors were responsible for the poor construction, if there had been adequate supervision from the supervision consultants, then a lot of the problems could have been avoided.

Lessons to be Learned from the Study

The lessons to be learned from the implementation of this project were similar therefore to those learned from the World Bank projects.

The first was that the use of contractors procured in the traditional way was leading to the very poor standard of construction mainly due to corruption and the way to avoid this was to use village committees to manage the construction process as was being proved by the World Bank projects that were then using this approach.

The second was that much better levels of competent supervision were required by experienced site supervisors and that great care needed to be taken in the selection of consulting firms who were required to manage construction programmes whether implemented by contractors or village committees.

More care also needed to be taken of the selection of sites both in physical terms and in terms of their location ie they needed to be close to the student population.

The designs of the school buildings needed to be simplified, buildings needed to be oriented to face north-south, laboratories needed to be replaced by multi-purpose rooms and detailed drawings needed to be provided for the buildings and site works.

It was necessary to provide all schools with reliable water supplies and working toilets even if this meant the provision of wells and VIP latrines or pour-flush privies.  There was not much point in providing flush toilets if there was not a piped water supply.

In future projects it was recommended that classroom furniture should be provided in a range of sizes to suit all students and that it should be possible to make and repair the furniture locally.

Adequate funding was required for maintenance if the buildings were not to deteriorate and if government could not provide funding then ways would have to be found to involve the local communities in the maintenance of the schools.  If village committees were involved in managing the construction then this should be easier to achieve.

For further details of the lessons to be learned from the school survey, see Lessons to be Learned from the JBIC Project.  This document had as an attachment, a paper on the use of communities in school construction and renovation.  I also wrote a short paper on the Measures Required to Ensure the Sustainability of the JBIC Schools.  For the final report on the survey see the JBIC Final Report.

The photo gallery below shows some of the problems found at schools during the survey most of which could probably have been avoided with better supervision.

Project Gallery

160-Dirty pupils toilet
147-Leaking veranda ceiling-2
132-Cracks wall
132-Broken veranda floor
132-Broken door of teacher toilet
131-Name board and front view
131-Leaking veranda ceiling
131-Front of building
001-Inside Lab
001-Broken Floor
001-Front view
001-Ceiling structure
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