01.03.08. Education system overview | Indonesia

01.03.08. Education system overview | Indonesia

13 Apr 2022

The Indonesian system is made up of non-compulsory pre-school, compulsory primary school (Pendidikan dasar), secondary school and higher education. The compulsory primary education is made up of primary school (Sekolah Dasar) and junior secondary school. Secondary education consists of compulsory junior secondary school (Sekolah Menengah Pertama, SMP) and senior secondary school. Finally, higher education is offered at five ‘different types of institutions’. These are: universities (universitas), academies (akademi), colleges (sekolah tinggi), polytechnics (politeknik) and institutes (institute) (NUFFIC, 2017, pp.5-7).

Education for 6 years was made compulsory in 1950 and extended to 9 years in 1994 (NUFFIC, 2017, p.5). In 2016, the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs launched the Program Indonesia Pintar (Smart Indonesia Programme) to support the plan of raising this compulsory education to 12 years (an additional 3 years of senior high school) (Permendikbud No.19/2016 Tentang Program Indonesia Pintar (Ministry of Education and Culture’s Regulation No. 19/2016 on Smart Indonesia Program), 2016).

A number of ministries are involved in the organisation and management of the education system. The Ministry of the Interior carries responsibility for primary education, while the Ministry of National Education (Kementerian Pendidikan Nasional) looks after secondary and higher education. Islamic Education is managed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and agricultural schools (secondary) by the Ministry of Agriculture (NUFFIC, 2017, p.5).

Private education has a significant role, with over 66 per cent of institutions in secondary and higher education operated by the private sector. Varying tuition fees create barriers to access and lead to considerable differences in the quality of education provided (NUFFIC, 2017, p.5).

According to UNESCO (2020) the literacy rate among the population aged 15 years and older has increased between 2000 and 2018 from 81.52 (males: 88.02; females 75.02) to 95.66 (males: 97.33; females: 93.99), respectively. Among the population aged 65 and older, UNICEF estimates the literacy rate to have increased from 53.22 (males: 68.65; females: 39.76) in 2004 to 74.34 (males: 84.61; females 65,69) in 2018 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), 2020).


NUFFIC. (2017). Education system Indonesia described and compared with the Dutch system. https://www.nuffic.nl/sites/default/files/2020-08/education-system-indonesia.pdf

Permendikbud No.19/2016 tentang Program Indonesia Pintar (Ministry of Education and Culture’s regulation No. 19/2016 on Smart Indonesia Program), (2016) (testimony of Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan).

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). (2020). Indonesia. http://uis.unesco.org/en/country/id