The Indonesian Study Abroad Market

In this Market Report on Indonesia we will cover socio-economics, educational and mobility trends. Indonesia is actually the world’s 4th most populous country, behind only China, India, and the USA. It is also one of the world’s youngest, with almost 50% of Indonesians under the age of 30, and a median age of just 28.

In addition, while it has historically lagged behind other large nations in terms of establishing its economic power, that is beginning to change, with the country now boasting the 16th largest economy in the world. By 2030, experts are predicting that it will have broken the top ten. The country’s continued economic development has also led to a growing middle class which is expected to double by 2020, according to Boston Consulting Group.

Since 2014, the number of Indonesian students studying abroad has grown by 21% according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. It is no longer the traditional top 3 (USA, UK, Australia) that are the main recipients of Indonesian study abroad students. Indonesians are now considering a wider range of study abroad destinations, including Malaysia (9,874 students in 2023), Egypt (5,937 students in 2023), Japan (5,095 students in 2023) and Saudi Arabia (1,934 students in 2023). Singapore and China are also actively recruiting Indonesian students. All this and more in the Market Report on Indonesia. (Source: ICEF monitor)

Quick facts

  • Population: 273,5 million (2020)

  • Education: 9 years compulsory

  • Academic year: September – August

Secondary education

  • Starting age: 11

  • Duration: 6 years

  • Enrollment numbers: 25 million
    Enrollment rate: 87%

Higher education

  • Duration: 4 years (Bachelor) – 2 years (Master), 3 years (PhD)

  • Enrollment numbers: 8 million (2019)

  • Tertiary enrollment rate: 36%

  • Universities / Institutions: 83 public (federal and state); private: 3,030

Indonesian Education System

Indonesia’s education system comprises four levels of education: primary (grades 1-6), junior secondary (grades 7-9), senior secondary (grades 10-12), and higher education. The first two levels constitute ‘basic education’. Primary and junior secondary education is largely offered by state schools. In Higher Education, the private sector is also starting to play a significant role, accounting for 31% of all students.

The state educational system in general is largely secular, although it includes some religious (mostly Islamic) schools and universities. The private educational system, by contrast, is dominated by religiously oriented schools and universities, in particular those associated with Indonesia’s two major Islamic social organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama. (source: wikipedia)

Secondary education

At the end of secondary technical/vocational education, pupils are awarded the Ijazah Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan . Pupils also sit a state exami nation for this type of education, upon completion of which the Surat Keterangan Hasil Ujian Nasional certificate is awarded.

Admission to higher education

The Senior Secondary School Certificate (Ijazah Sekolah Menengah Atas, SMA ) and the state examination ( Surat Keterangan Hasil Ujian Nasional) are both required for admission to higher education. State universities require students to pass an entrance examination (Seleksi Nasional Masuk Perguruan Tinggi Negeri), which tests mathematics, English, Indonesian and the subjects relevant t o the student’s chosen specialization. Successful candidates may be admitted to the state universities, depending on the number of available places.

Higher Education system

Higher education is provided at five different types of institutions: universities (universitas), academies (akademi), colleges (sekolah tinggi), polytechnics (politeknik) and institutes (institut). Universities and institutes provide both academic and higher professional education, whereas academies, colleges and polytechnics only provide the latter. Graduates from university programs receive a degree, whereas graduates of higher professional education programs are awarded a diploma. Source: Nuffic

Visual depicting the Indonesian Educational System

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Latest Indonesian Higher Education study abroad stats

At this point a total number of 55,961 students from Indonesia are studying abroad (for or as part of a degree in higher education) according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The most popular destinations are:

Indonesian students studying abroad
UNESCO study abroad data

IB schools in Jakarta

Best performing Indonesian Universities

Looking to partner with Universities from Indonesia? These are the best performing universities.

University of Indonesia

THE Rank: 801 – 1000

Bandung Institute of Technology

THE Rank: 1001 – 1200

Universitas Pendidikan 

THE Rank: 1001 – 1200

Upcoming Education Fairs in Indonesia

Scholarships for Indonesian students

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