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Changes Young People Want in Education: Indonesia


As part of the United Nations Asia and the Pacific Report on Youth Opinion Poll, carried out from April to June 2014, we asked young people between 15 and 29 years old living in the Asia-Pacific region, “If you were the head of government, what changes would you make about education in your country?” Starting from the November 2014 issue, the Education Policy Matters! newsletter has been showcasing responses received from different countries in the region. This month, we take a look at the responses from Indonesia.


139 Indonesian youths participated in the survey, of which about 84 per cent responded in Indonesian and 16 per cent in English. In terms of gender breakdown, 40 per cent were male, 59 per cent were female, and 1 per cent were transgender. Nearly 55 per cent belonged to the 20 to 24 years old age group, whilst 25 per cent were below 20 years old, and 20 per cent were aged 25 to 29 years old. As many as 48 per cent of the respondents held bachelor degrees, and 48 per cent held post-graduate degrees. Nearly 4 per cent held primary or secondary education level qualifications.

Common to a number of respondents is their desire for improved curricula, teaching methods and education programmes, which best cater to the needs, interests and talents of students. In general, the curricula in Indonesia are found to be too heavy and ineffective in facilitating learning. To the respondents, the curricula should be more relevant to the students and put strong emphasis on character-building and values education. It is important that education enables them to face the challenges of globalization and the local demands of their country. Besides the compulsory courses they have to take, Indonesian students want a variety of electives to hone their talents and skills. The respondents think that extracurricular activities, field practice, and scientific or technological practicum are valuable to their future careers, and must therefore be increased.

Alongside the suggested reforms in the curricula, the teaching and learning process is a concern to Indonesian students. The learning process should target student comprehension and reasoning, and set an open, fun and comfortable atmosphere. A qualitative assessment of student performance should also be given as much weight as a quantitative assessment. For the environment to be conducive to learning, it must be supported by upgraded educational facilities and infrastructure. Furthermore, the quality and welfare of teachers are deemed important for learning.  Respondents state that teachers must have the attitude, training and education necessary for them to become competent educators.

Equity appears to be a major issue in Indonesian education as well. The respondents pointed out that quality education should reach far enough to include disadvantaged groups, especially those in remote areas in eastern Indonesia. Many of these respondents suggest that education in public schools should be free up to the senior secondary level. Other respondents even suggested that higher education should be free, and also that education should be affordable for all. The discrepancies in access to quality education make the Indonesian youths clamor for an increase in funding for education.

The issue in equity may also be linked to the governance and management of education. The survey results voice the sentiments of Indonesian youths on the National Examination. Many respondents suggested that the National Examination be abolished or reviewed. It should not be a standard requirement for graduation, but be considered simply one of the means for student evaluation.

For more information, please contact Ushio Miura [u.miura(at)] at the Education Policy and Reform Unit.

Written by Nurhajati Sugianto [n.sugianto(at)] and Stephanie Choo [s.choo(at)]

Related Links:

• UN Asia and the Pacific Report on Youth 
• Changes Young People Want in Education: China
• Changes Young People Want in Education: Philippines & Korea
• Changes Young People Want in Education: Thailand
• Changes Young People Want in Education : Viet Nam
• The World We Want