Welcome foreign universities : Indonesia

Indonesia is ready to receive foreign universities

Indonesia has a long-term strategy and once again to open the higher education system to foreign service providers. The legislation providing for foreign participation in the provision of higher education in the country has been in books since 2012, but the government has been reluctant in years since the process was officially opened.

High-level foreign institutions

As these questions continue to be raised substantially, it seems likely that the Government has set a very ambitious timetable for the country’s first partnerships with foreign service providers. This is particularly true when observers outside Indonesia question the details of these partnerships, including the need to establish high-level foreign institutions in partnerships with the local private sector, legislative constraints on profit-making processes in the country’s education sector, and requirements for Islamic cultural content.

As of today, Minister Nasser did not follow up at his press conference in January with an official decree on the operations of foreign universities in Indonesia. However, the timing of any other announcements may also be affected by the progress in the ongoing free trade negotiations between Australia and Indonesia, which are currently ongoing and where foreign nanny operations have emerged in Indonesia so far.

Indonesia is ready to receive foreign universities

However, the tide seems to be changing in recent months. In November, President Goku Widodo interest in opening foreign institutions on a new campus in Indonesia to provide an important reference point for strengthening the country’s universities.

Subsequently, Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Mohammad Nasser held a press conference in January, in which he announced that Indonesia would indeed welcome foreign service providers later this year.

At least five or ten foreign universities are targeted to work in the middle of this year,” Minister Nasser told the press conference.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Business, and Management as priority areas

The minister singled out both the University of Cambridge, University of Melbourne, and CQUniversity Australia as institutions already expressed interest. The Minister also referred to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business and management as priority areas.


We are giving foreign higher education institutions, especially world-class universities, the opportunity to work in Indonesia.

Public announcements on this subject tend to warn cautiously in Indonesia. Any discussion about the establishment of a foreign center for collection is always accompanied by two important qualifications: the foreign institution is expected to find a local private sector partner and give priority to employing local faculty.

All educational institutions are also required to devote part of their curricula to Indonesian culture education, including religious and Islamic values. In addition, the government is generally clear that any call to action in Indonesia will only be extended to higher-ranking institutions.

Pros and cons

But if politicians in Indonesia are wary of this issue, it may have been for good reason, as the prospect of opening the country’s higher education system raised a lively debate. Supporters of the move argue that allowing foreign institutions to work in Indonesia will not only strengthen local higher education capacity but also encourage more Indonesian students to study at home. Proponents also expect foreign high-rated firms to be an important stimulus to strengthening Indonesian institutions.

Opponents say local institutions, both public and private, will struggle to compete with foreign firms, and that the end result will be the dismantling of the rules of procedure.

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