Higher Education in Indonesia
Indonesian higher education uses the traditional three-tiered system of degrees – bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral. Associate degrees are also awarded. The Ministry of Education and Culture oversees all institutions of higher education; however, both public and private schools have wide latitude for determining policies and academic curriculum. Indonesia is currently overhauling their education system, with the goal of providing world class education and research facilities.
Why Study in Indonesia?
Indonesia provides a vibrant, multi-cultural environment for international students. About 6,000 international students currently study in Indonesia, with most of them coming from Malaysia. Many master’s degree programs, especially those at private institutions, are taught in English or other languages for students not proficient in the Indonesian language. MBA programs taught in English are especially popular.
Although nearly 3,000 public and private institutions of higher education exist in Indonesia, all but about 3 percent are private. There are four types of higher education institutions including universities, institutes, academies and polytechnics.
Tuition and Program Duration
Tuition at most Indonesian universities is paid up-front for the entire program of study. Although tuition at public universities is very low, even tuition at private institutions is very affordable. Tuition varies by the type of master’s program and school, but generally costs around €4,000. Program length also varies, but is usually 1-2 years, with MBA programs tending to be on the shorter side.
The academic year at most universities has two semesters, even and odd, each 16 weeks long and followed by exams. The academic year begins in early September and finishes in June.
The unemployment rate in Indonesia is relatively low and there are many opportunities for both Indonesian and foreign workers after they have obtained their master’s degree. Major multi-national industries include petroleum and gas, clothing and footwear, mining, fertilizers and tourism. Nearly half of the Indonesian workforce is currently in the services sector. The majority of foreign workers in Indonesia are employed by foreign countries or in the export sector; foreign workers proficient in English also may find employment in teaching English. Students planning to work in Indonesia need to find employment before they graduate so the potential employer can help to obtain a work visa.
Indonesia has a government-run health plan, but international students are not generally eligible for enrollment, as only people who work or meet other specific conditions are eligible. International students should purchase private health insurance or ensure that their home-country health insurance plan will cover them during their stay in Indonesia.
The official language in Indonesia is Indonesian and Javanese is also widely spoken, along with hundreds of local languages and dialects. English is not widely spoken outside major cities.
Student visas do not allow for multiple exits and entries, so students who need to depart and reenter the country before completing their studies must make special arrangements.