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: 2020-03-09

Capital:  Jakarta
Population: 267,026,366 (July 2020 est.)
GDP:  3.25 Trillion USD (2017 est., Purchasing Power Parity)
Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
Language:  Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects (of which the most widely spoken is Javanese)

UNESCO Student Mobility Number: 
Indonesia has 69,000 students studying abroad according to UNESCO.

CIA World Factbook: 
40.63% of the Indonesian population is under 24 years old.  

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 a home to 265 million people, 87% of whom identify as Muslims, making it the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation on earth. The population is dominated by a young generation; close to 50% of who are younger than 30 years old. The country’s middle class is growing rapidly and is the biggest in Southeast Asia. The number of families with household income exceeding US$ 10,000 is expected to double by 2020, while the average disposable income is expected to increase 3-5 % annually. 

Indonesia has compulsory education that lasts 9 years from age 7 to age 16. The primary to post-secondary education academic year begins in July and ends in June. The Indonesian school system is immense and diverse with over 50 million students and 3 million teachers in more than 250,000 schools throughout the archipelago. Based on data on Indonesian education statistics, the number of university students was about 7.5 million in 2019 and is projected to grow over 20%  in the next 2 years. Universities in Indonesia are largely private. There are three ministries that supervise and organize the entire system, namely the Ministry of

Education and Culture, Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Ministry of Research & Technology. The education and culture ministry oversees state primary, junior, secondary schools and vocational study; the religious-affairs ministry has control of Islamic schools and other religious schools; and the ministry of research and technology is responsible for universities, polytechnics and research.

In 2020, BPS Projected Indonesia has 271,066,400   million in the age of 15-54 years old, where 49,937,500 come from West Java, 39,886,300 come from East Java, 34,940,000 come from Central Java, 14,073,500 come from North Sumatera, 13,160,500 come from Banten and 10,645,000 come from DKI Jakarta. The inter-census population survey said that the productivity rate in Indonesia reach into 68,7% from the total population, where Indonesia has 183,36 million of people in the age 15-64.

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. The government has 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.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 8,356 students from Indonesia were studying in the U.S. (down 3.4% from the previous year). Indonesia is the nineteenth 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, 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 getting higher education, while SMK, as a vocational school, prepares its students to work after finishing their school without getting 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 5 academic majors chosen by Indonesian students studying in the US




Life Science

Math & Computer Science

Health Professions



















Indonesian culture is notable for prioritizing family closeness and connection. The AFS survey found that 46% of young Indonesian students said that fear of homesickness was a leading concern for them around study abroad, and 47% mentioned about its safety and security. In addition, due to the high costs of tuition/fees at U.S. institutions and U.S. administration that perceived unwelcoming Muslim students make U.S. institutions have been losing significant market share to rivals, especially Indonesia’s neighboring countries like Australia.

Australia is the number one choice for Indonesians abroad, largely due to geographic proximity, perceived institutional quality, and English-language instruction. The number of Indonesian students choosing to study in Australian for higher education institutions is more than 9,000 students, in which the numbers actually has decreased by 3% in the past year, due to limitation from the government. One in four Indonesian students who study at universities overseas chooses to study abroad in Australia. More than 29,000 Indonesian students are studying in Australia starting from vocational training to universities levels. The most popular courses for Indonesians in Australia are in the fields of management and commerce, society and culture and engineering and technology, there are also significant increases choosing education, natural and physical sciences and agriculture and environmental studies.

According to government data, there are 14,000 Indonesians studying in China. Indonesian students are reportedly growing more interested in learning the Chinese language, as China’s economic, technology and political power growing rapidly in the past few years. In Addition, China increased scholarships in the country after witnessing a 42% enrollment surge at its universities in 2007-2009.
Malaysia became the second-most popular destination for Indonesian students in 2017, which is reflective of an Indonesian focus on affordability and cultural similarities. 

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 of 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” or “1+3” or “2+2” programs which enable students to apply credits from the 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. Some 40% of Indonesians applying for student visas to the U.S. have been accepted at a community college, and half of the top 10 school destinations are community colleges.

Finally, vocational schools have increasingly become targets of Indonesian government interest. 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. This system could speed up the process of workforce employment. Data from the Education and Culture Ministry shows that Indonesia currently has more than 13,000 vocational schools, each of which specialize in one of several fields, including tourism, business, maritime industries and machinery. The Indonesian government also has invited business players to contribute in an expanded role to shape the curriculum and set the skill standards relevant to the demands of the job market. Business players are also 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 employment experience. 

The government support Indonesian student to study abroad by making 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 are 4,000 students awardee to go abroad. In total, there are 20.255 students in total that being funded by LPDP Scholarship. In 2019, government fund 50 Trillion Rupiah for LPDP’s budget.

There are many education fairs take place in Indonesia throughout the year. Many education agents in Indonesia also have their own fairs. 
Some of education fairs in 2020:
•    EducationUSA Southeast Asia Fair Tour 2020 (February 11 – March 21, 2019)
•    Indonesia International Education & Training 29th Edition 2020 (February 14-17, 2020) Jakarta or 
•    ISN Spring & Fall 2020 Asia Tour 
•    Indonesia Education Fair 2020 (September 26 - October 2, 2020) Medan, Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar 

•    Ministry of Education and Culture 
T: +62-21-570-3303/5790-3020 ext: 2115
•    Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education 
T: +62-21-150-0661
•    American Indonesian exchange Foundation (AMINEF) 
T: +62-21-5793-9085/86
•    Institute of International Education

Yulie Tanuwidjaja, Commercial Specialist
 U.S. Commercial Service – Jakarta, Indonesia