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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change


The Indonesian education system exists to provide children across the archipelago with a high quality education that bears relevance to life and culture in Indonesia. School attendance is mandatory for at least nine years, however schools have yet to achieve 100% enrollment at any level. School curriculums, unified by national guidelines, cover a wide range of subjects and evaluate students on their knowledge at the end of each schooling level, through a national exam. Teachers are often, but not always, employed by the central government and assigned to teach in public schools. Other teachers may work part-time at public schools, filling gaps where government teachers are unavailable; they also may be employed full-time in private schools. Scholarships are available for students who cannot afford the full cost of attending school; tuition is universally charged except in government-run primary schools. Private schools are popular, but generally regarded as less desirable than public schools, regardless of their quality. The various policies and structures that make up the Indonesian education system provide a certain degree of organization, but limit the ability of schools to provide the high quality education they may otherwise be able to deliver to students. The government, too, is at fault for neglecting to give adequate attention and support to every school. This study, through observations and formal interviews, examines the public and private sectors of the Indonesian education system and compares its workings to similar aspects of the United States’ education system, offering some insight for improvement in both systems.


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


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