Compulsory Education: Presidential Instruction Decree No. 10 of 1973, initiated Indonesia's program of compulsory education and by 1984 the government of Indonesia had fully implemented the six year compulsory education for primary school age children (7-12 years). The result of this new policy was significant in that the participation rate in primary school reached 92 percent in 1993 compared to 79 percent just 10 years earlier.
Ten years after the compulsory primary education program came fully into effect, Indonesia launched the Nine Year Basic Education Program, as proclaimed by President Suharto on 2 May 1994, extending compulsory education to the 13- to 15-year-old population. The compulsory nine-year basic education affords opportunities for Indonesian citizens to get an education. The extension from six years to nine years of basic education was also intended to alleviate the problem of child labor.
Age Limits: According to the National Education Law No. 2/1989 and the Government Regulation No. 28/1990, basic education is a general education program with a duration of nine years—six years of primary education and three years of junior secondary education. The nine-year Compulsory Basic Education Program attempts to provide an education for every Indonesian in the 7 to 15 age group.
Academic Year: At the primary and secondary levels the school year lasts 38 weeks on the average. The average length of teaching periods on the primary level is 30 minutes in grades one and two, 40 minutes in grades three to six, and 45 minutes in junior secondary school.
Language of Instruction: Classroom instruction is provided in the national Bahasa Indonesian language.
Primary School Education: Basic education offered in primary schools aims to provide the ability to read, write, and do arithmetic, and to instill primary knowledge and skills that are useful for pupils in line with their development levels, as well as to prepare students to attend education in lower secondary school. Basic education is also carried out in lower secondary schools and is aimed at expanding the knowledge and improvement of skills obtained in primary schools that are useful for students to develop their lives as individuals, members of society, and citizens.
The education program for primary schools is prescribed by Article 39, Clause 3, Law No. 2/1989 and Article 14, Clause 2, Government Regulation No. 28 of 1990, and the February 25, 1993 decree of the Ministry of Education and Culture No. 060/U/1993. The curriculum content of compulsory primary education consists of subject matter covering Pancasila education, religious education, citizenship education, Indonesian language, reading and writing, mathematics, introduction to science and technology, geography, national and general history, handicrafts and art, physical education and health, drawing, and the English language. Such subject matter groups are not necessarily course titles as more than one material group can be combined with another subject; likewise, one subject can be divided into more than one subject.
Secondary School Education: The general secondary school curriculum is determined by the 25 February 1993 decree of the Minister of Education and Culture No. 061/U/1993. This program covers study materials and subjects required for Class l and II students: Pancasila education and citizenship, religious education, Indonesian language and literature, national and general history, English language, physical and health education, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, and arts education. The language program consists of four subjects: Indonesian language and literature, English language, other international languages, and cultural history. The natural science program includes physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics. The social science program offers economics, sociology, public administration, and anthropology. These subjects are aimed at improving pupils' abilities and stimulating interactive relationships with the social, cultural, and natural environment.
Built on foundational courses in Class I and II, the special teaching program implemented in Class III can be selected by pupils according to their abilities and interests. This program prepares students to continue on to higher education in the academic or professional field.
Apart from general and special programs, there are also extracurricular activities that are offered outside the teaching hours. These activities—such as scouting, school health activities, sports, and first aid—along with the theoretical knowledge gained in the curricular program are intended to develop the whole person.
Vocational Secondary Education: This curriculum was set forth by the Minister of Education and Culture in Decree No. 080/U/1993. The objective of vocational education is to prepare students to enter employment and to develop professional skills and to prepare students to choose a career, to instill the ability to compete and develop independently, and to foster a national workforce to meet the manpower needs of business and industry.
Vocational secondary school implements education programs according to the perceived present and future demands for employment types. The vocational secondary school curriculum program is envisioned to be completed in three to four years. The curriculum is divided into six groups: the agricultural and forestry group, for occupations in such areas as agribusiness, agronomy, animal husbandry, fisheries, and agriculture production management; the industrial technology group, offering professions in building construction, mining, marine engineering, graphics, textiles, informatics, and industrial instrumentation; the business and management group, leading to careers in accounting, office management, finance and banking, trade, and secretarial work; the community welfare group, targeting employment with social services, community health, and community development; the tourism group, whose graduates move into the hotel, catering, fashion, and beauty occupations; and the arts and handicraft group, whose skills are focused on applied arts, visual arts, and the handicraft industry.
Special Education: Special education is intended for students with physical, mental, and/or behavioral disabilities. The programming is organized by multiple agencies including the government's Ministry of Education and Culture, other ministries, and private and nongovernmental organizations.
The aim of special education is to help disabled students acquire knowledge about their environment and to develop skills for competing in the job market or to continue their education beyond the customary special pre-school (one to three years duration), special primary school (at least six years duration), and special secondary schooling (at least three years duration).
In the 1995 school year, there were 703 schools teaching special education, with 32,921 students, 7,723 teachers and a student-teacher ratio of 4.26:1. There is a measure of difficulty in assessing the student-teacher ratio within the field of special education. In addition to numbers of students, other criteria must include the student's degree of disability, curriculum to be pursued, and physical and mental therapies offered.
Higher Education: In the early stages, higher education used the program structure inherited from the Dutch colonial period consisting of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. The curriculum was based on a prescribed course of study, the whole of which should be taken by the student. In 1979 the semester credit unit system was adopted offering more latitude in choice of courses.
The master's program consists of a class load of 36 to 50 semester credit units and a written thesis to be completed in no less than four semesters and no greater than ten semesters. Study for a doctorate requires 40 semester credit units and a dissertation which is to be completed in no less than four semesters yet not exceed 14 semesters.
Following secondary education, graduate studies for educators consist of diploma programs (Diploma I-IV) and specialist programs (Specialist I-II). The Diploma I study load ranges from 20 to 50 semester credit units and is taken over a period of 2 to 4 semesters after secondary education. The Diploma II program study load is from 80 to 90 semester credit units scheduled over a period of 4 to 6 semesters. The Diploma III study program consists of 110 to 120 semester credit units spanning 6 to 10 semesters. And the Diploma IV study program is 144 to 160 semester credit units scheduled over 8 to 14 semesters.
The standard load for Specialist I study is 36 to 50 semester credit units taken over 4 to 10 semesters after the graduate program. And Specialist II study is 40 to 50 semester credit units over 4 to 10 semesters after the Specialist I program or its equivalency.
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