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.
Indonesia is an archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of 17,000 islands and straddling the equator. The largest islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi , the Nusa Tenggara islands, the Moluccas Islands, and Irian Jaya, the western part of New Guinea. Indonesia has a mixed economy in which both the private sector and government play significant roles. The country is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and a member of the G-20 major economies.
Indonesia is a Southeastern Asian country consisting of an archipelago with more than 17,000 islands. The country is located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and about 6,000 of the islands are inhabited. The terrain varies widely throughout the country, with coastal lowlands and rugged mountains up to nearly 5,000 meters high. The country is rich in natural resources, including petroleum, natural gas, timber, bauxite, tin and other metals. Indonesia is famous for its volcanoes, which are among the most active in the world and attract international volcanologists for study. The country is also strategically located along major sea lanes from the Indian to Pacific Oceans, making it a crossroads in the ocean. With nearly 250 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and is home to the world’s largest Muslim population among Muslim-majority countries.
Indonesia has a tropical climate and temperatures remain relatively constant year round. The climate is generally warm and very humid. The coastal regions usually average about 28 degrees C, lower mountain regions average about 26 degrees C and higher mountain regions average about 23 degrees C. Due to the country’s proximity to the equator, there is very little variation is length of days as well. The driest time is from June to October and the monsoon season occurs during January and February.
Indonesian art and culture are heavily influenced by both religion and traditions of both eastern and western origin. There are hundreds of ethnic groups within Indonesia, and the culture fuses aspects from the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Religions with significant influence include Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Music and dance in Indonesia have very distinctive styles and many theater performances are based on traditional culture or mythological events. Indonesian cuisine is generally spicy and reflects the multi-ethnic culture of the country. Common ingredients in many dishes are rice, fish, soy and fruit. Popular sports include badminton, soccer and martial arts.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Indonesia is very low. A one-bedroom apartment costs only about $US 150 to $US 350 per month, depending upon location. Utilities and Internet add about another $US 100 per month.
International students are required to have a student visa (KITAS) while studying in Indonesia. The student should first apply for a social visit visa at the Indonesian embassy or consulate in their home country. Documents required to obtain the visa include a copy of the student’s passport, a copy of the most recent transcript and diploma, color photos, a letter that contains a statement of financial solvency, a certificate of health, and acceptance and sponsor letters from the institution where the student will be studying. The student should enter Indonesia on the social visit visa and then apply for the student visa after they arrive. The student visa/stay permit is valid for one year and can be renewed at one-year intervals up to four times.