girl students indonesia
Girl students in south Sumatra, Indonesia, will be forced to undergone virginity tests before they can be admitted to high school (Reuters)

From next year, schools in south Sumatra will conduct compulsory virginity tests on high school girls as part of its high school admission requirements.

Prabumulih education bosses said proposed the virginity tests for the 2014 regional budget, the Jakarta Globe reported.

HM Rasyid, education chief for Prabumulih, told that the tests were carried out because of a rise in premarital sex and prostitution among female students.

"Every woman has the right to virginity, though on the other hand, we expect students to not commit negative acts," he said. "We plan to implement the policy next year."

Virginity tests are regasrded as harmful, invasive and degrading by human rights groups, especially when performed on behalf of the government.

Ibnu Hamad, a spokesman for the Education Ministry, said he had no power to block the move.

"It's a technical policy which is determined by the head of the local education agency," the spokesman said. "We can advise that whatever policy they implement, it should not hamper a student's access to education."

Harmful violation

Education experts and lawmakers across Indonesia have criticised the tests.

Masruchah, the deputy chair of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, said: "Virginity is a personal issue and a person has the right over their own body. The [Prabumulih] Education Agency has no right to control a student's body.

"What if a student was a rape victim and failed the test? [It is possible for] students to lose their virginity due to accidents.

"Morality cannot be determined by [a student's] genitals. What will they do with the test results? Are they going to reveal which students are not virgins?"

Dedi Gumilar, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives, said he doubted whether the proposal was legal.

"Do we have a law stating that students must be holy? It's written in the country's constitution that every citizen has the right to education."