Higher Education in Indonesia

higher education in indonesia

Several factors are preventing the development of higher education in Indonesia. First, many schools have become vehicles for political elites. Civil servants and teachers have been forced to teach compulsory courses in the Pancasila system and support the ruling Golkar Party. Teachers are also pressured to join the Indonesian Teachers Union, the only recognised teachers’ trade union in Indonesia.

Second, the quality of higher education is inconsistent. While there are many private HEIs operating in Indonesia, the quality of these institutions has been criticized. Poor management, inadequate funding, and inadequate facilities are common problems. Research output is also often lacking. Another concern is the lack of adequate training of university instructors. Over a third of lecturers in Indonesia have only bachelor’s degrees.

Finally, the high cost of studying abroad may limit students’ mobility. Almost half of Indonesian students said that they would need financial aid to pursue their studies abroad. In addition, low computer literacy and internet infrastructure have hindered the development of distance education. However, the public Indonesia Open University has pioneered distance learning in higher education. It has grown from a fringe university to a mega-university with over 500,000 students.

Increasing access to higher education has been an objective of Indonesia’s government for decades. The Education Act of 1961 mandated the provision of higher education, and the number of students has increased steadily over the past four decades. However, the government has faced challenges implementing this policy. The lack of adequate funding, the absence of implementation mechanisms, and the limited allocation of award funding have made it difficult for the government to reach its goals.

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