Indonesia Schools


Figure 1.--Indonesia has national rules, but the uniform can be set by individual schools. A HBC readder tells us, "Here are two students in Bali wearing school uniforms in 2005. The shirt has what looked like a paisley pattern in blue. Only one appears to be wearing a tie, but I am not sure about the other student. They wore navy blue shorts. They both wear white ankle socks and black shoes. They appear to be 15 to 16 years old. This picture was taken at 11:30am and the students were waiting at their parents stall before going to the second sitting of school for the day. 

We have only limited information on Indonesia at this time. There were no schools as such until the Dutch arrived, although there probanly were Islamic madrassas. The Dutch did not found a mass public education system, but they did open schools in the cities. We do not know much about the Dutch schools at this time. Indonesia became independent after a brief war for independence following World War II. The Indonesian Government did found a mass public education system We are not sure when school uniforms were first introduced, but ghey are quite common in Indonesia. Indonesian boys tend to wear short pants through junior highschool, often with colorful uniform shorts. Indonesia is one of the few Moslem countries where boys wear short pants as school uniform. There are different ethnic and religious groups in Indonesia. There are Chinese in most cities and their is a Hindu population on Bali. The school uniform shorts were quite short in the 1960s and 70s. Much longer shorts became standard in the 1990s. We do not know if there are national rules or the uniform is determined by each school. A HBC readder tells us, "Here are two students in Bali wearing school uniforms in 2005. The shirt has what looked like a paisley pattern in blue. Only one appears to be wearing a tie, but I am not sure about the other student. They wore navy blue shorts. They both wear white ankle socks and black shoes. They appear to be 15 to 16 years old. This picture was taken at 11:30am and the students were waiting at their parents stall before going to the second sitting of school for the day.

Chronology

We have only limited information on Indonesia at this time. There were no schools as such until the Dutch arrived, although there probably were Islamic madrassas. The Dutch did not found a mass public education system. The early Dutch period involved the Dutch East India Company (VOC) which gace very littke attention to education. What education that was organized was done by the Futch Reformed Church and was Dutch, Indo (Dutch-Indonesian), Asian (non-Indonesians, mostly Chinese) children. The Moluccas was a little different. No effort was made to educate Indonesian children. The Dutch colonial government which replaced the VOC took over the VOC schools and begin to consider the education of Indinesians. The first tenative steps were taken in Java during the early-19th century. The Dutch Government began founding both Dutch-lamguage (primary and secondary schools) and indigenous language (primary schools). Upper class Indonesians might attend the Dutch-language schools. Dutch officials made some attempt to involve Muslim schools which were almost entirely religious in caracter in the efforts to broaden educational opportunity. This included langgar schools (Koranic recitations) and pesantren (broader Islamic ereligious studies. Schools during the colonial period also included Chinese schools and mission schools (both Protestant and Catholic). The colonial government gradually expanded its support of schools as the century progressed. [Aritonang] Indonesia became independent after a brief war for independence following World War II. The Indonesian Government set about building a mass public education system. The Indonesia Governent has over time significantly expabded educational opportunity. A factor here has been the expansion of the Indonesia Government which has probided increased revenue to finance a major public education system. The development of the petroleum industry has made a major contrubution. Indonesia is a traditional, largely Muslim society. There was a first a najor gender gap with many trafitional parents, especially in the country side, reluctant to send girls to school. The Govenment made 9 years of education compulsory (1994). Mpst childten now enroll in primary school. One study suggested that 92 percent of school age children began school (2002). And at this age there was no longer a gender gap. There still is a gender gap at the upper educational levels after the compulsory years. School attendance does very significantly between urban and rural areas. As a result of the public education system, illiteracy is no longer a major social problem.

Administration

The shool system is somewhat disjointed. There are three different ministries involved in education. The Education Ministry is responsible for the state primary, junior, and secondary schools. Indonesia is alargely Muslim country and the Religious-affairs Ministry has over-sight responsibility for the Muslim madrassas (Islamic schools). Recenbtly the Ministry for Research and Technology has been given responsible for universities and polytechnics.

Dimensions

Indonesia has one of the largest and youngest educational systemd in the world. There are some 55 million students and 3 million teachers. There are 236,000 schools spread out over 500 districts. Indonesia thus has the world’s fourth-largest education system, much of it belt since the 1980s. Indonesia became indeoendent from the Netherlands in 1949, although 1945 is the official independence date. The Dutch did attempt to build a public school system. And the independent Indonesian Goverment did not begin to seriously fund public scgolls until the 1970s. This of course is when oil revenue began to increase dramatically, making funds available to the Government.

Availability

The quality of Indonesia schools has been impriving, but is still fasr behind many of its its neighbors: Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. A new education secretary, Anies Baswedan, is a former university president and creator of a program that sends university graduates to teach in remote areas where educational standards are especially poor. Nearly a fifth of Indonesia's budget is devoted to education, fairly standard for a developing country. Based on GDP the share is less than 5 percent, rather low by international standards. There have been notable gains. Enrollment in urbamns schools located in well-to-do areas approach 100 percent. In poor rural areas they may be as low as 60 percent. Here both Islam and gender are a favctor. Many Muslim parents are still reluctant to sennd their girls to school. Another factor is staffing the schools. Most teachers want schools in urbam areas or at least urral areas that are close to roads. An Indonesia Education Ministry officials tell us, that if a rural school is near a roads, “I can guarantee it has more teachers than it needs. But if it’s two or three kilometres from that road, it won’t have enough.”

Enrollment

Schools in the Dutch Wet Indies were primarily for the Dutch colonials and those Indonesian children wih families connected to the regime. There were also Christian missionary schools and Islamic madrasas. Only a fraction of Indonesian children went to any kind of schools. And this was especially true for girls--paricularly Muslim girls. Literacy rates were very low. Indonesia since the 1970s has steadily expanded both primary and junior-secondary enrolment rates. And particularly impressively, the Government has narrowed the gap in school-completion rates between well-to-do and poor students as well as those from rural and urban areas. We belive that Chinese and Christians children have higher wnrollment rates than Mislim children, but we are still collecting the needed data.

Levels

Indonesia hs made considerable progress in primary education. Most children at least begin primary school. Although substantial numbers now finish primary school, many children do not continue their education. Here a variety of factors are at play. It is relatively easy yo locate a small primary school in arural area so children can walk to schol. This is more difficulrt for Junior high-scjools and high schools. Thus fistance from a school is a factor. Another factor is Islam. Many Muslim parents are not enhuiastic about educating girls, especially schools at some distace from home. Such attituds are changing, but still a factor affecting education. As a result, while Indonesia has 170,000 primary schools, there are only 40,000 junior-secondary schools and 26,000 high schools.

Quality

Indonesia has made considerable progress in building a public school system. They have built large numbers of schools and most children are now getting a primary school education. Secondary schooling is another matter. But building schools and promoting attendance is one thing, the qiality of the education delivered is still lacking. Indonesia students compare poorly to mny of their neigbors and by general international measures as well. There has been some progress, but it is uneven. Average reading and maths scores on standardised PISA tests have improved since 2000. Scores in science have declined and scores in maths and reading have recently been declining. In the tests Indonesia notably lags behind not just rich Singapore, but also Vietnam, a relatively poor country since the Communist victory. GDP per capita is only three-fifths of that of Indonesia. One study reveals that for every 100 students who begin primary school, only 25 will come out meeting minimum international standards in literacy and numeracy. In the core subjects (reading, maths and science), the average Indonesian 15-year-old is roughly 4 years behind the average Singaporean. Indonesia suffers from a serious teacher shortage. And particularly disheatening, are repeated cheating scandals. This includes teachers selling exam answers to students. This is not just an academic matter. Indonesia has aapidly growing economy. The schools are delivering the education needed for low skilled workers. Technicians and managers are a different matter. A recent study found that Indonesia faces a dire shortage of managerial talent for the important services sector. [Boston] This is a serious problem for a country trying to rapidly develop its economy.

Individual Schools

Looking at individual schools provides intetesting glimses at Indonesian education over time. We have very little information on individual schools. A reader mentions a Dutch school after independence. A photograph shows a group od students in 1960-61. I think this meant a private school in which the language of instruction was Dutch. We note both Dutch and Indonesian students at the school.

Uniforms

Indonesian children commonly wear schiil uniforms. We are not sure when school uniforms were first introduced, but ghey are wideky worn today. The inspirtation was not the Dutch as school children in the Netherlands do not wear uniforms with few exceptions. We suspect that the missiomaries may have introduced uniforms, but we can not yet confiorm thaty. Indonesian boys tend to wear short pants through junior highschool, often with colorful uniform shorts. Indonesia is one of the few Moslem countries where boys wear short pants as school uniform. There are different ethnic and religious groups in Indonesia. There are Chinese in most cities and their is a Hibdu population on Bali. The school uniform shorts were quite short in the 1960s and 70s. Much longer shorts became standard in the 1990s. We do not know if there are national rules or the uniform is determined by each school. A HBC readder tells us, "Here are two students in Bali wearing school uniforms in 2005. The shirt has what looked like a paisley pattern in blue. Only one appears to be wearing a tie, but I am not sure about the other student. They wore navy blue shorts. They both wear white ankle socks and black shoes. They appear to be 15 to 16 years old. This picture was taken at 11:30am and the students were waiting at their parents stall before going to the second sitting of school for the day.

Sources

Aritonang, Jan S. Mission schools in Batakland (Indonesia), 1861-1940.

Boston Consulting Group/

"Education in Indonesia: School’s in--Indonesia’s schools are lousy," (December 13, 2014).








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Created: 12:07 AM 5/16/2005
Last updated: 7:27 PM 9/24/2015