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Education in Indonesia - statistics & facts

With more than 50 million students, three million teachers, and 300,000 schools, Indonesia has one of the largest education systems globally. The Indonesian government aims to develop a world-class education system with a focus on using the latest technologies by 2025. Today, the main challenge for the Indonesian education system is no longer solely about improving its access but also enhancing its quality.

The education system in Indonesia

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology has primary responsibility for managing all levels of the education system. Indonesians are required to complete twelve years of compulsory education, including six years of elementary education and three years each of lower-secondary and upper-secondary education. Students who complete lower secondary education can enroll in either senior high school or vocational schools. While almost 90 percent of Indonesian primary schools are public, more than half of the high schools and 90 percent of the universities are private. Public schools in Indonesia are normally free of charge. When compared to international schools, private schools there can be more affordable, with school fees that start at around 15 million Indonesian rupiah per year. In comparison, fees for a mid-range international school usually start at 50 million Indonesian rupiah. In recent years, the market for international education qualifications has been growing in the nation. It was reported that Indonesia had one of the highest numbers of premium English-language international schools in the ASEAN region in 2018.

Significant changes in Indonesia’s education system

For the first time in Indonesian history, the national exams for the sixth, ninth, and twelfth graders were canceled in 2020. The decision was made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This action, however, was in line with the current Minister of Education, Nadiem Makarim’s, plan to overhaul the education system. In 2021, Indonesia officially scrapped the national exams, with plans to replace them with a new form of assessment in 2022 that focuses on character development and the learning environment of the pupils. During this transitional period, report cards and independent school exams would be used for the graduation and university selection requirements.

Although the leading universities in Indonesia are dominated by state universities, for many Indonesians, the tuition fees are still relatively high. In 2012, the government started a scholarship program called LPDP to support Indonesian students who are accepted into either the leading national universities or the world's best-ranked universities. This initiative was taken to give Indonesians a chance to have a better quality of education, hence, improving the quality of the country’s human resources. The number of Indonesians studying abroad has increased since then. Indonesia's educational system and policies have undergone substantial changes in recent years. However, several assessments of the country's educational performance indicate that it still has a long way to go before achieving the 2025 goal.

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