Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Education | Ensuring Quality Over Quantity in Higher Education

The number of universities, particularly private institutions in Indonesia has grown dramatically in the past decade. The total figure now stands at over 3,000 private and 130 state universities. The main centres for education continue to be in Java, namely Jakarta and Yogjakarta as well as Bandung. State universities are still regarded as the most prestigious so the number of applicants far outstrips places available with less than 20% of those applying being accepted.

As the growing middle class has seen a rise in their purchasing power, competition in the education sector has heated up with parents seeking out the best options for their offspring’s education. Despite the opening of new universities all over the country to cater to the increasing number of students, quantity does not mean quality. It is the issue of measuring quality and a non-standardised accreditation system that has held back the education sector. Professor Kisworo of Perbanas Institute explains ‘Now we have approximately 3,300 universities in the country and an average of 600,000 candidate students every year so if divided equally this amounts to around 200 new students every year by university so this competition is not healthy. In my opinion the amount of universities is too big, ideally it should be around 1000 universities’. This observation is further enforced considering that China which caters to 20 million students has less than 2000 universities.

The government and the National Education Ministry are taking measures to consolidate the education sector to reduce the amount of under performing universities and thus the amount of ill equipped graduates being produced by them. The Indonesian National Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (Badan Akreditasi Nasional Perguruan Tinggi) was established in 1994 and began its program of disseminating its new accreditation system in 2008 and 2009 for undergraduate programs. The 7 point quality assurance system is modelled on the European Foundation of Quality Management and Malcolm Balridge’s Model. Accreditation criteria includes the amount of research work undertaken by lecturers, the quality of publications and the length of time taken for graduates to obtain employment and is measured over 5 year intervals. The aim is to rid the education system of unaccredited courses by 2012 as well as the universities concentrated on profit rather than quality of teaching. It is a very big undertaking by the 1,000 assessors involved to cover the breadth of the country including far flung regions, and to accurately measure the varying levels of maturity of such institutions.

Such a standardised system will also take time to enforce as well as let the market take its effect on sub standard institutions. However the direction of the National Ministry of Education to take the sector to world class standards is clear. The measures are critical in raising the standards of higher education in Indonesia in lieu of the ASEAN Community by 2015. This will remove the borders of not only trade but also movement of people, therefore Indonesian academic facilities will have to measure up to compete with their regional counterparts.

The tools below provide the basis for understanding how institutions in Indonesia are being ranked under the new accreditation system.

Types of Degree and their English equivalents:

  • D3 Ahli Madya - Associate's Degree
  • D4 Sarjana - Bachelor's Degree
  • S1 Sarjana - Bachelor's Degree
  • S2 Magister - Master's Degree
  • S3 Doktor - Doctoral Degree

Indonesia’s higher education accreditation system award three grades of A,B,C according their scoring on 7 points of best practice. Those that are not accredited do not receive a grade.

  • - A (Very Good) with a score between 361-400
  • - B (Good) with a score between 301-360
  • - C (Fair) with a score between 200-300
  • - Non Accredited institutions have a score of less than 200.

Determination of the final score is the sum of the assessment results (1) study programs (75%), (2) Evaluation of self-study programs (10%), and (3) Forms Faculty / College (15%). The validity of the accreditation for all undergraduate courses is for 5 years.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2012

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Indonesia Education Snapshot

Number of Tertiary Education Institutions: 4,445 (2016)
Type: 91.5% Private, 8.5% Public
Students in Higher Education: 4,941,574 (2016)
Net Enrolment Rate in Tertiary Education: 22% (2014)
Relevant Law: Higher Education Law No. 12 of 2012 provides universities with the autonomy to set their own tuition fees and authorising the set up of foreign universities in partnership with Indonesian institutions.