Monthly Archives: June 2019

25 Quick Facts on the Educational System of Indonesia

June 14th, 2019


  1. Location: Southeastern Asia, an archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
  2. Official Language: Bahasa Indonesia as its official language. (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  3. Capital of Indonesia: Jakarta with a population of over 10 million (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  4. Percentage of total population under 24 years of age: 41.57%  (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  5. Population: Over 265 million (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  6. # of islands forming the Indonesian archipelago: 17,500
  7. # of Indonesians who identify as Muslims: 87%
  8. # of Indonesian students studying abroad: 45,206 (Source: UNESCO Student Mobility Number)
  9. % of GDP allocated for education (2015): 3.6% (Source, CIA World Factbook)
  10. # of years of compulsory education: 9 years (from age 7 to 16)
  11. Start and end of primary to post-secondary education academic year: July – June
  12. The ministries that supervise and organize the entire education system: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education.
  13. Education sectors overseen by Ministry of Education: state primary, junior and secondary schools
  14. Education sectors overseen by the Ministry of Religious Affairs: Islamic schools and other religious schools
  15. Education sectors overseen by the Ministry of Research and Technology: universities and polytechnics
  16. # of Indonesian students studying in the U.S. in the academic year 2017-2018: 8,650 (Source:
  17. % of Indonesian students who attend U.S. universities and are self-funded: 95% (Source:
  18. 2 types of high schools in Indonesia: SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas) – prepares students to higher education; SML (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan) – prepares students with vocational training for employment.
  19. International secondary schools: prepare students for the IB (International Baccalaureate) or the CIE (Cambridge International Examinations)
  20. Types of degree levels at higher education: Diploma 1-3; Diploma 4 “Sarjana sains terapan” (bachelor of applied science); Sarjana 1 (bachelor’s degree); Sarjana 2 (master’s degree); Sarjana 3 (doctoral degree)
  21. Types of higher education institutions: public and private
  22. # of higher education institutions in the private sector: 3,940 (Source: Export.Gov, 2016 Statistics)
  23. # of higher education institutions in the public sector: 372 (Source: Export.Gov, 2016 Statistics)
  24. Top 3 study abroad destination countries for Indonesian students: Australia, the United States, and Malaysia
  25. % of Indonesian students responding to survey by AFS Intercultural Programs in Spring 2017 with interest in studying abroad: 81% (Source: ICEF Monitor 2017)


CIA World Factbook: Indonesia.

Export.Gov. 3/5/19 “Indonesia – Education & Training.”

ICEF Monitor. 2017. “Study Finds that Young Indonesians are Highly Motivated to Study Abroad.”

ICEF Monitor. February 2019. “Indonesian outbound continues to grow with emphasis in regional destinations.”

NAFSA IEM Newsletter. Vol.16.November 2018. “Education System of Indonesia”

UIS-UNESCO. “Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students. “

UNESCO “International Mobility of Students in Asia and the Pacific.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia. “Fact Sheet: U.S.-Indonesia Education Partnership.”

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit

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A 1st Timer’s Reflections on the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference

June 7th, 2019


My excitement and expectations as a first-time participant to the NAFSA Annual Meeting were exceeded. It was a great experience to see how united and collaborative the community of international higher education is. I think this was the first time when I truly understood what networking really means. I was waiting by the information desk to meet with my IEM mentor (via the IEM Connector Program) and I happened to glance over the long hallway of the Convention Center. Everywhere I could see, there were people with a big smile on their face and arms open wide, recognizing and old friend or collaborator. My experience with the conference was one of belonging to a community wholeheartedly dedicated to excellence in higher education.

Two prominent plenary speakers at the conference were former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Collin Powell. Both talked about the importance of international education and the role of the government in creating supporting policies for attracting international students. They shared their own experiences in the White House and expressed intense criticism for the current government’s actions against internationalization. They were so funny and witty!

The recurrent theme of this year’s NAFSA Annual Conference was the anticipated diminishing numbers of international students. The main reasons for predicted lower numbers are the following: difficulties in obtaining student visas, higher visa processing fees, perceived racism and discrimination, higher tuition costs, unstable political discourse, future USCIS plans for restructuring the OPT and CPT, rise in H1-B visa denials.

Where do international students go and why? International students mostly go to Canada and Australia, with the US and UK seeing lower numbers than ever. Canada is seen as more welcoming, with less visa restrictions and more opportunities for securing work after study completion.

At the conference, I attended sessions on how to develop recruitment, admissions and retentions strategies in response to the current unsteady global enrollment climate. I basically tried to learn from what other institutions are doing to develop and implement systemic change to deal with future enrollment. What I found was not a surprise: apply cross-cultural competencies to understand the incoming international student population, make data-driven policies and procedures, and create informative communication plans to teach students/applicants how to navigate the US academic system.

One of the most informative session I attended was Canada’s International Students: A Study in Diversity. This was an exceptionally interesting presentation with a tremendous amount of government data. Contrary to the perception that increased numbers or international students are due to the US and UK’s detrimental policies, the Canadian Government had created a plan to enhance the international student population back in 2013. US and UK’s discriminatory environment has indeed helped their numbers but only because they already had a very structured plan in place to absorb the high number of international students. It was not just luck, it was tremendous work and strong support from the government.


POLIXENIA TOHANEANU, has been working as an International Admissions Specialist and Credential Evaluator in the Graduate Admissions Office at University of Idaho since 2016. She holds an M.A. in Francophone Studies from University of Cincinnati. As a previous international graduate student herself, she is passionate for researching new ways to make the process of evaluating international credentials more efficient. Email:

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