Indonesia - Country Commercial Guide
Education and Training

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-07-28

Capital:  Jakarta

Population:  279.242 million (June 2022 est.)

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):  $3.3 trillion (2020 est.)

Currency:  Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

Language:  Bahasa Indonesia (official), English, Dutch, local dialects (of which the most widely spoken is Javanese)

 UNESCO Student Mobility Number
Indonesia has 53,604 students studying abroad according to UNESCO.

CIA World Factbook
40.63% of the population in Indonesia is under 25 years old.

Overview

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and third-largest democracy. It is an archipelago comprised of over 17,500 islands and is home to 275 million people, 87% of whom identify as Muslims, making it the largest Muslim-majority nation on earth. The population is dominated by a young generation; over 40% of Indonesia’s population is younger than 30 years old. The country’s middle class is growing rapidly and is the biggest in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is the world’s 7th largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity and a member of the G-20. The 2022 G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia will be the seventeenth meeting of the G20. 

Indonesia has compulsory education that lasts 12 years and consists of six years at the elementary level and three each at the middle and high school levels. Islamic, Christian, and Catholic schools are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Schools in Indonesia are run either by the government (public) or are private schools. In Indonesia, there are approximately 148,000 primary schools, 41,000 junior secondary schools, and 14,000 high schools. Eighty percent of these schools are under the Ministry of Education and Culture and the remaining 20% under the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Australia is the first choice for Indonesians to study abroad, largely due to geographic proximity, perceived institutional quality, and English-language instruction. Around 15,900 Indonesian students were enrolled in Australian educational institutions in 2021. Australia, Malaysia, and the U.S. are the top three destinations for Indonesian students who are studying abroad.

Sub-sectors

Indonesia is a huge potential market for U.S. providers of secondary, tertiary, and vocational education.  The Indonesian government has made a clear commitment to education and taken steps toward education reforms and greater investment in education in recent years.  Significant increases in government spending have led to real gains in terms of secondary enrollment and the number of higher education students has doubled over the last five years.  This equates to an increase in the number and quality of students seeking post-secondary education opportunities.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, 7,489 students from Indonesia were studying in the U.S. (down 9.8% from the previous year due to COVID-19).  Indonesia is the seventeenth leading place of origin for foreign students studying in the U.S.  Over 96 percent of all student visas are granted by the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, and 95% of Indonesians studying abroad are self-funded.  This group of students finances their education privately with financial support from their parents or assistance from overseas relatives.  The remaining five percent of students are financed by local universities, companies, the government, and scholarships through different grants.

There are two types of high schools in Indonesia: SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas) and SMK (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan).  SMA students are prepared to continue to higher education, while SMK, as a vocational school, prepares its students to work after finishing their schooling, without moving on to higher education.  There are many international schools in Indonesia.  International schools adopt an international curriculum such as IB (International Baccalaureate) or CIE (Cambridge International Examinations).

Top Five Academic Majors Chosen by Indonesian Students Studying in the U.S.

Table: Top Five Academic Majors Chosen by Indonesian Students Studying in the U.S.

Year

Business/Management

Engineering

Life Sciences

Math & Computer Science

Health Professions

2017

30.3%

16%

6.5%

7.1%

1.9%

2018

28%

17.8%

6.8%

8.5%

1.9%

2019

27.4%

16.7%

6.5%

10%

1.5%

2020

23.4%

15.1%

6.8%

18.9%

1.8%

2021

24%

19.1%

7.1%

12.5%

1.8%

Source: Open Doors 2021

Opportunities

A recent survey conducted by a leading Indonesian newspaper shows that most students perceive academic institutions in the U.S. as offering the highest quality education compared to academic institutions in other countries.  The U.S. has consistently been a desired destination for Indonesian students seeking to study overseas.  U.S. universities and community colleges can become more visible in the Indonesian market through participation in education fairs, including the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA Fairs, and/or by working with educational consultants. Educational consultants are very popular with prospective Indonesian students and their parents as they serve as “one-stop shops” for applying to schools and provide services such as assisting with visa applications and arranging travel and accommodations.

 

To compete with other countries which offer lower tuition fees, universities are participating in “1+1”, “1+3”, or “2+2” programs, which enable students to apply credits from their years of study at a local university towards an undergraduate degree at a U.S. university.  Studying at U.S. community colleges has also become an increasingly popular option for Indonesian students. 

Vocational schools have increasingly gained the interest of the Indonesian government.  The Indonesian government is planning to improve the current vocational education system with multiple skill certificates, in which vocational school students can earn certificates after completing training courses in addition to their high school graduation diploma.  In the 2021-2022 educational year, there were approximately 14,200 vocational schools in Indonesia.  In the 2021-2022 educational year, there were about 5.4 million students in vocational schools.

The Indonesian government has also invited business leaders to play an expanded role in shaping the curriculum and setting skill standards relevant to the demands of the job market.  These business representatives are expected to provide internship opportunities and on-site training programs for both students and teachers.  There may be opportunities for U.S. vocational schools to partner with Indonesian vocational schools to support the development of curriculum and establish a presence in Indonesia.  In addition, U.S. vocational schools may enjoy increasing appeal as opportunities to gain overseas education and job skills.  Vocational schools offer three-year courses in technology and engineering, health, arts and crafts, tourism, ICT, agro-business and agro-technology, and business management.  In the same academic year, there were about 333,150 teachers in the vocational schools.

The government supports study abroad by Indonesian students through the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education, abbreviated as LPDP (Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan).  LPDP is a full-ride scholarship from the Indonesian Ministry of Finance for all Indonesian citizens.  LPDP has a vision to be the best regional fund management institution to prepare future leaders and encourage innovation for a prosperous, democratic, and just Indonesia.  The LPDP service program consists of scholarships, research funding, and fund management (investment).  By 2018, there were 4,000 student awardees to go abroad under the program. Since 2013, about 27,995 students have been funded by LPDP scholarships. In 2020, the Indonesian government endowed LPDP with about IDR 19 trillion, and the LPDP already had IDR 51 million saved from previous year’s endowments for a total of IDR 70 trillion.

Digital Marketing Strategies

The development of digital marketing in Indonesia continues to increase significantly over time. Indonesia’s digital landscape is rapidly growing, with the country’s population of over 270 million people and the rapidly rising number of Internet users.  The social media penetration rate in Indonesia is 66%.  The use of digital media in the education sector in Indonesia has increased tremendously due to COVID-19. Since 540,000 schools have closed in March 2020, 39% have reopened as of September 2021, with intermittent reopening and closures due to Covid variants.  Local platforms, such as “Ruangguru” (an interactive e-learning platform for K-12 students in Indonesia) and “Cakap” by Squline (a tutoring platform for language learning), have grown during this time, but overall, the sector is still emerging.

Increased demand for online learning is driving the growth of Indonesia’s leading EdTech platforms. The most popular EdTech products offer learning management systems for teacher-student collaboration and interactive classroom tools for hosting live teaching sessions, such as G-Suite for Education, Microsoft for Education, Zoom, Google Classroom, etc. 

EdTech is not accessible to all learners, however, and Indonesia’s education system is not well-equipped for quickly scaling up online learning.

Many students in rural areas lack connectivity and many lower-income students lack access to the devices needed to use EdTech tools.  This contrasts with lower-tech options such as television; according to data from the 2018 national socio-economic survey, 95% of students accessed TV in the prior week (96.6% in urban and 92.3% in rural areas).

There are several social media sites that are very popular among students in Indonesia, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedln, YouTube, TikTok, etc.  Despite increasing demand, Indonesia’s EdTech sector faces major bottlenecks that prevent it from replicating the level of success seen in other technology sectors and in other countries.

Supply-side constraints include:

  • Difficult access to funding
  • High marginal costs, particularly to acquire and retain new customers
  • A shortage of qualified talent to develop and maintain products

These are coupled with demand-side constraints, including:

  • A low willingness to pay from schools and parents
  • A lack of digital literacy, particularly on the part of education providers
  • Poor digital infrastructure, which limits connectivity in remote regions and slow download speeds across the country.

 Events

​​​​​​​Resources

U.S. Commercial Service Contact

Yulie Tanuwidjaja, Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service – Jakarta, Indonesia

Phone:  +62-21-5083-1000

Email:  Yulie.Tanuwidjaja@trade.gov