This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 3/15/2019
UNESCO Student Mobility Number: Indonesia has 45,206 students studying abroad.

CIA World Factbook: Indonesia uses Bahasa Indonesia as its official language. 41.57%  of the total population is less than 24 years old. Jakarta as the capital of Indonesia has population over 10 million and followed by Surabaya 2.903 million, etc.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and third-largest democracy. It is an archipelago comprised of over 17,500 islands and is home to 265 million people, 87% of whom identify as Muslims, making it the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation on earth. The population is dominated by a young generation; close to 50% of who are younger than 30 years old. The country’s middle class is growing rapidly and is the biggest in Southeast Asia. The number of families with household income exceeding US$ 10,000 is expected to double by 2020, while the average disposable income is expected to increase 3-5 % annually.

Indonesia has compulsory education that lasts 9 years from age 7 to age 16 years old. The primary to post-secondary education academic year begins in July and ends in June. The Indonesian school system is immense and diverse with over 50 million students and 3 million teachers in more than 250,000 schools throughout the archipelago. Based on data on Indonesian education statistics, the number of university students was about 6 million in 2017 and is projected to grow over the next 5 years. Universities in Indonesia are largely private. There are three ministries that supervise and organize the entire system, namely the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Ministry of Research & Technology. The education ministry oversees state primary, junior and secondary schools; the religious-affairs ministry has control of Islamic schools and other religious schools; and the ministry of research and technology is responsible for universities and polytechnics.

Higher Education

Indonesia is a huge potential market for U.S. providers of secondary, tertiary, and vocational education. The Indonesian government has made a clear commitment to education. The government has taken steps toward education reforms and greater investment in education in recent years. Significant increases in government spending have led to real gains in terms of secondary enrollment, and the number of higher education students has doubled over the last five years. This equates to an increase in the number and quality of students seeking post-secondary education opportunities.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 8,650 students from Indonesia were studying in the U.S. (down 1.4% from the previous year). Indonesia is the nineteenth leading place of origin for foreign students studying in the U.S. Over 96 percent of all student visas are granted by the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, and 95% of Indonesians studying abroad are self-funded. This group of students finances their education privately with financial support from their parents or assistance from overseas relatives. The remaining five percent of students are financed by local universities, companies, government, and scholarships through different grants.

There are two types of high schools in Indonesia: SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas) and SMK (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan). SMA students are prepared to continue getting higher education, while SMK, as a vocational school, prepares its students to work after finishing their school without getting higher education. There are many International Schools in Indonesia. International Schools adopt an international curriculum such as IB (International Baccalaureate) or CIE (Cambridge International Examinations).

Top 5 academic majors chosen by Indonesian students studying in the U.S.
YearBusiness/ManagementEngineeringLife ScienceMath & Computer ScienceHealth Professions
Source: Open Door 2018

For the past 10 years, U.S. institutions have been losing significant market share to rivals, especially Indonesia’s neighboring countries like Australia, due to high cost of tuition/fees at U.S. institutions. Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Japan, New Zealand and Korea have aggressively promoted their education programs in Indonesia. Australia is the number one choice for Indonesians abroad, largely due to geographic proximity, perceived institutional quality, and English-language instruction. The number of Indonesian students choosing to study in Australian higher education institutions has increased by more than 8% in the past year. One in four Indonesian students who study at universities overseas chooses to study abroad in Australia. More than 20,000 Indonesian students are studying in Australia starting from vocational training to universities levels. The most popular courses for Indonesians in Australia are in the fields of management and commerce, society and culture and engineering and technology, there are also significant increases choosing education, natural and physical sciences and agriculture and environmental studies.

New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Canada and Singapore have joined forces with each other in announcing their intention to attract more Indonesian students. China, in particular, increased scholarships in the country after witnessing a 42% enrollment surge at its universities in 2007-2009. Malaysia became the second-most popular destination for Indonesian students in 2010, which is reflective of an Indonesian focus on affordability and cultural similarities.

A recent survey conducted by a leading Indonesian newspaper shows that most students perceive academic institutions in the U.S. as offering the highest quality of education compared to academic institutions in other countries. The U.S. has consistently been a desired destination for Indonesian students seeking to study overseas. U.S. universities and community colleges can become more visible in the Indonesian market through participation in education fairs, including the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA Fairs and/or by working with educational consultants. Educational consultants are very popular with prospective Indonesian students and their parents as they serve as “one-stop-shops” for applying to schools and provide services such as assisting with visa applications and arranging travel and accommodations.

To compete with other countries which offer lower tuition fees, universities are participating in “1+1” or “1+3” or “2+2” programs which enable students to apply credits from the years of study at a local university towards an undergraduate degree at a U.S. university. Studying at U.S. community colleges has also become an increasingly popular option for Indonesian students. Some 40% of Indonesians applying for student visas to the U.S. have been accepted at a community college, and half of the top 10 school destinations are community colleges.

Finally, vocational schools have increasingly become targets of Indonesian government interest. The Indonesian government is planning to improve the current vocational education system with multiple skill certificates, in which vocational school students can earn certificates after completing training courses in addition to their high school graduation diploma. This system could speed up the process of workforce employment. Data from the Education and Culture Ministry shows that Indonesia currently has more than 13,000 vocational schools, each of which specialize in one of several fields, including tourism, business, maritime industries and machinery. The Indonesian government also has invited business players to contribute in an expanded role to shape the curriculum and set the skill standards relevant to the demands of the job market. Business players are also expected to provide internship opportunities and on-site training programs for both students and teachers. There may be opportunities for U.S. vocational schools to partner with Indonesian vocational schools to support the development of curriculum and establish a presence in Indonesia. In addition, U.S. vocational schools may enjoy increasing appeal as opportunities to gain overseas education and employment experience.

There are many education fairs take place in Indonesia throughout the year. Many education agents in Indonesia also have their own fairs.
Some of education fairs in 2019: Resources

Ministry of Education and Culture
T: +62-21-344-9230 ext: 6187/6186

Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education  
T: +62-21-150-0661

American Indonesian exchange Foundation (AMINEF)  
T: +62-21-5793-9085
Institute of International Education
U.S. Commercial Service Contact
Yulie Tanuwidjaja, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service - Indonesia
Tel: +62-21-5083-1000
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

More Information

Indonesia Education Trade Development and Promotion