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General Information
Indonesia Education System

Education in Indonesia is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan or Kemdikbud) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Kementerian Agama or Kemenag). In Indonesia, all citizens must undertake nine years of compulsory education which consists of six years at elementary level and three in secondary level. Islamic schools are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Education is defined as a planned effort to establish a study environment and education process so that the student may actively develop his/her own potential to gain the religious and spiritual level, consciousness, personality, intelligence, behavior and creativity to him/herself, other citizens and for the nation. The Constitution also notes that education in Indonesia is divided into two major parts, formal and non-formal. Formal education is further divided into three levels, primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Schools in Indonesia are run either by the government (negeri) or private sectors (swasta). Some private schools refer to themselves as "national plus schools" which means that they intend to go beyond the minimum government requirements, especially with the use of English as medium of instruction or having an international-based curriculum instead of the national one.

The school year is divided into two semesters. The first commences in July and ends in December while the latter commences in January and ends in June. The school grades are as follows:

  • Primary Education
    In Indonesia education is centrally controlled by the ministry of national education. 6 years in primary school and 3 years in junior high school are compulsory. The primary phase follows on after optional pre-school playgroups that may commence in a child’s third year. Most elementary schools are government controlled. Some offer accelerated programs that compress the phase to 5 years. As Islamic education system operates in parallel to this.

  • Middle Education
    Junior high school offers a bridge between the gentler pace of the elementary phase, and the challenges of senior high school that may follow. It also assists educators to determine a possible future direction for their students. The Islamic education system continues to provide an alternative.

  • Secondary Education
    There are two different kinds of Indonesian high schools providing two streams of education for those who choose to optionally enrol. One of these is aimed at those who intend to go on to university. The other is for those who plan to find jobs right away. Other young people choose the Islamic alternative.

  • Vocational Education
    Vocational training is mainly provided by private training colleges and initiatives by donor countries. Unfortunately this continues to occur mainly in the cities. This continues to condemn most of the rural poor to a life of drudgery and manual labor.

  • Tertiary Education
    There are 4 kinds of tertiary education institutions in Indonesia, namely polytechnics, academies, institutes and universities. Some of these are state controlled, some are religiously affiliated and some are privately funded. The oldest is the University of Indonesia founded in 1947. It enjoys a prestigious local reputation and was ranked among the top 50 in Asia in May 2011.

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