Education System in Indonesia

Indonesia is a country blessed with around 13,700 beautiful islands. Some among these, the most famous ones are the islands of Sulawesi, Papua, Kalimantan, Sumatra and the Java Island. TThe first step regarding education in Indonesia was taken in December 1949 with the foundation of Republik Indonesia which was the formal introduction of Bahasa Indonesia, (an Indonesian language) as a medium of education in the country. The country has a compulsory education of nine years for all children, out of which one should undergo six years at the elementary level and another three years at the secondary level.

Primary and Secondary Education

Pre-school education for children is not compulsory and lasts for 1 - 3 years. This is followed by the primary school (also known as Sekolah Dasar) and the junior secondary school, which are compulsory for all. The duration of the Primary education is 6 years and the medium of instruction is officially Bahasa Indonesia, but regional languages are also used during the first 3 years.

The secondary education is also a 3 years of compulsory education for all students and has 3 years of junior secondary school; students are awarded with the certificate Ijazah Sekolah Menengah Pertama (SMP) on their successful completion of the school. The secondary education is divided into a vocational track (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan, SMK) and general track (Sekolah Menengah Atas, SMA).

The Islamic education is also provided to students at the general secondary and primary education level. It strictly follows a curriculum for the Islamic subjects and the students receive the Ijazah Madrasah Aliyah on the successful completion of their schooling. The state examination is same as that for the general education and even the name of the certificate is same.

Senior Secondary Vocational Education

The vocational education is very popular among students in Indonesia and some students take up the 3-years vocational and technical education programmes instead of pursuing the general education. Given below is a small list of vocational institutes in Indonesia offering wide variety of programs.
  • Sekolah Menengah Teknologi Pertanian, agricultural programmes are offered by this institute
  • Sekolah Menengah Ekonomi Atas(SMEA), it offers programs in commercial sciences
  • Sekolah Teknik Menengah(STM)
  • Sekolah Menegah Kesejahteraan Keluarga (SMKK), it is known for home economics programmes
After the successful completion of the vocational or technical education, the students are awarded with Ijazah Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan. They are also required to sit for another state examination and upon clearing it, are awarded with a certificate  - Surat Keterangan Hasil Ujian Nasional.

Higher Education

Higher education in Indonesia is provided at five different types of institutions viz. polytechnics (politeknik), universities (universitas), institutes (institute), academies (akademi) and colleges (sekolah tinggi). The institutes and Universities offer both higher professional and academic education, and on the other hand the colleges, polytechnics and academies only offer higher professional courses.

University Education

Indonesia can boast of 51 state universities and one Open University. Since 1998, the government of Indonesia has stopped issuing permits for establishing private universities in the country and nowadays private universities can only be established after fulfilling certain strict conditions.

In the year in 1983, The Open University was founded by the Ministry of Education primarily providing written distance education to its students. Although the main motive of the Open University was to bring down the number of secondary school drop outs but it mainly attracted the working who found it convenient to attend classes in an Open University.

The University education is divided into different levels which can be discussed below:

Sarjana I

These programmes have a minimum of 4 years duration but the students are allowed to extend their study program to a maximum of 7 years or 14 semesters duration. One requires a scoring of 144-160 credits to get into a Sarjana I programme.

Sarjana II

The programme lasts for a minimum of 2 years or 4 semesters duration, however the students are allowed to complete the programme in 10 semesters or 5 years. The admission to Sarjana II or S II uis based on an S I with a final paper in the related or same subject area. Proficiency in the English language is also a requirement sometimes.

Sarjana III

The admission to S III depends upon an S II diploma (Specialis or Magister) with a minimum of 3.25 GPA along with an entrance examination. The bachelor’s degree holder candidates, the minimum credit point is 76-88 with a minimum duration of 8-9 semesters or 4-4 years. On the other hand for the master’s degree holder candidates, one is required to have 40-52 credits with a minimum duration of 4-5 semesters or 2-2 years. With the successful completion of the Sarjana III programmes, the candidate is given the title of Doktor.

Special Education in Indonesia

The education system of Indonesia takes special care of the students with behavioral, mental or physical disabilities. The special education program in Indonesia is organized by various agencies including the government's Ministry of Culture and Education, other ministries, and nongovernmental and private organizations.

The main aim of the special education in Indonesia is to help the disabled students to develop various skills for competing for a better job and also to know about their environment. It also guides them to keep continuing their education after customary special pre-school which is of one to three years of duration), special primary school for six years duration, and the special secondary schooling for three years duration.

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