Since 2013, the duration of compulsory education in Indonesia has been extended from 9 years to 12 years. This provides a great opportunity given Indonesia’s demographics. Indonesia will experience a population growth with a larger productive age than the population with non-productive age in 2050 – with more than 200 million people of productive age.
Fearing youthful unemployment, the government is trying to provide the best education in Indonesia. The aim is to bring demographic dividends into the future, so that young people can have better jobs, higher salaries and an improved quality of life.
University Education in Indonesia
According to the British Council, the number of Indonesian students will be in the top 10 in the world by 2035. Approximately 2.6 million Indonesian students will study at university in the next 10 years. Today, there are more than 3,400 university education institutions, with the most popular fields being business, IT, accounting / finance, medicine, health sciences, linguistics and engineering. Universities in Indonesia are spread across major cities in Java: Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang and Yogyakarta. About 30,000 Indonesian students are studying at university abroad, and 1% of them are mobile international students.
Higher Demand for Labor Requires Better Education
In 2013, Indonesia is predicted to have a workforce of 65 million young people. To meet these needs, Indonesia focuses on the quality of education to prepare its population to compete. However, due to infrastructure challenges caused by Indonesia’s archipelagic nature and lack of talent, access to quality education in Indonesia has yet to be improved, when compared to many other Southeast Asian countries.
Young Workers with Limited Skills
Among the young population ready to enter the workforce, observations indicate that there are large gaps in creativity as well as computer and technical skills. One of the most important skills that you don’t have is the ability to speak English well. This gap occurs due to less quality education and a lack of training for Indonesian workers.
Lack of Teachers and Talents
Indonesia has a shortage of teachers, especially good and qualified teachers. Fewer than half of Indonesia’s teachers, namely 2.7 million, meet the country’s minimum requirements.
Solutions to Existing Challenges
Extending the Compulsory Education Program
To reduce the skills and talent gaps found among young workers, the Indonesian government has increased the number of vocational schools. With this effort, Indonesia has determined the compulsory education program to be 12 years, requiring State Universities (PTN) to also accept prospective students who come from poor families.
Improve Teacher Quality
To improve teacher quality, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture has run a number of programs such as regular certification tests. Since 2015, professional teachers will be hired with this certification. In addition, the education system received a total investment of USD 34.9 billion in 2013, which is considered to be one of the largest investments when compared to other sectors in Indonesia.
Foreign Investment in Indonesia’s Education Sector
Meanwhile, the construction of new educational institutions and their facilities in Indonesia continues to enjoy local and international investment. More importantly, the authorities continuously improve the curriculum and teacher performance and make it a priority to promote and improve the quality of general education as a whole. Since the elimination of foreign and private participation from the investment negative list in 2010, the education sector in Indonesia has received a growing number of foreign direct investment, as well as private investment.