Education in Indonesia
Education in indonesia is the responsibility of the Ministry of National Education of Indonesia (Kementerian Pendidikan Nasional Republik Indonesia or Kemdiknas, formerly the Department of Education and Culture of Indonesia) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia (Kementerian Agama Republik Indonesia or Kemenag). In Indonesia, all citizens must undertake nine years of compulsory education, six years at elementary level and three in junior high school. Islamic schools are the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Education is defined as a planned effort to establish a study environment and education process so that the student may actively develop his/her own potential to gain the religious and spiritual level, consciousness, personality, intelligence, behaviour and creativity to him/herself, other citizens and for the nation. The constitution also notes that education in Indonesia is divided into two major parts, formal and non-formal. Formal education is divided again into three levels, primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Schools in indonesia are run either by the government (negeri) or privately (swasta). Some private schools refer to themselves as “national plus schools” meaning that they go beyond the minimum government requirements, especially in relation to the use of English as medium of instruction or having an international curriculum instead of the national curriculum.
Elementary education was introduced by the Dutch in Indonesia during the colonial era. At first, it was restricted for only Dutch or European people. In 1870, with the growth of Dutch Ethical Policy, formulated by Conrad Theodor van Deventer, those schools opened the doors for bumiputera or native Indonesian. Those schools were called Sekolah Rakjat (Indonesian: folk school), the embryo of what is called Sekolah Dasar (elementary school) nowadays.
The Dutch introduced a system of formal education for the local population of Indonesia, although this was restricted to certain privileged children. The system they introduced was roughly similar to the current structure, with the following levels:
- ELS (Dutch: Europeesche Lagere School) – Primary School for Europeans
- HIS (Dutch: Hollandsch-Inlandsche School) – Primary School for Natives
- MULO (Dutch: Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs) – Middle School
- AMS (Dutch: Algeme(e)ne Middelbare School) – High School or College
- HBS (Dutch:Hogere Burger School) – Pre-University
The segregation between Dutch and Indonesian in Education pushed several Indonesian figures to start educational institutions for local people. Ahmad Dahlan founded Muhammadiyahin November 1912, and Ki Hajar Dewantara founded Taman Siswa in July 1922. Pesantren was growing rapidly during this time period.
The Dutch colonial government also established a number of universities for native Indonesian on the island of Java, such as:
- School Tot Opleiding Van Indische Artsen or STOVIA, a medical school in Batavia
- Nederland-Indische Artsen School, or NIAS, a medical school in Surabaja
- Rechts Hoge School, a law school in Batavia
- De Technische Hoges School, or THS, a technic school in Bandoeng
By the 1930s, the Dutch had introduced limited formal education to nearly every province of the Dutch East Indies.