ADEA participates in OECD Peer Review of Education in Indonesia

Angela Arnott, ADEA’s interim coordinator of the Working Group on Education Management and Policy Support, was invited as an African expert to participate in a recent OECD Peer Review of the Indonesian education system. The mission, which took place in Indonesia May 14-16, was led by Dr. Ian Whitman. It included a team of education experts drawn from Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, France and Belgium with expertise in assessment, inspection, early childhood education, higher education, teacher development and finance. The technical team was joined by a representative of the Islamic Bank who partly funded the exercise. Ms. Arnott will be contributing to the chapters on technical vocational education and education finance.

Indonesia, with a population of 267 million is the 16th largest economy in the world.  It is nevertheless a developing economy with some 60 per cent of all its non-agricultural jobs in the informal sector and 22 per cent of the population living below or close to national poverty levels. Some 40 per cent of Indonesians are highly vulnerable to poverty  . Additionally, it has major geographical challenges as it is spread across some 17,000 islands and has different time zones. It also has a heterogeneous people with four major religions and speaking over 800 languages.

Despite these challenges, Indonesia has achieved 97 per cent primary and 76 per cent secondary participation rates in 2012.  Indonesia plans to transform itself into one of the top ten major economies in the world. Reaching high-income status will depend on an economic transition from a natural resource based economy to an industry-based economy and, eventually, an innovation-based economy. Its investment in human resource includes promoting Universal Secondary Education and a more skills based orientation in the school curriculum.  By 2015 the Ministry of Education will increase its 9 year mandatory schooling to 12 years (including senior secondary) and increase the share of vocational education at this level (from 49 to 60 percent by 2020) and provide access to vocational education and training  at the post-secondary through the establishment of community colleges country wide. 

African countries and their ministries can be inspired by the example of Indonesia as a developing economy beset with many socio-economic challenges that is aiming high in terms of the development of its human resources. Indonesia, like most African countries struggles with the quality of teaching and learning.

Indonesia performs below the OECD average in mathematics (ranks between 62 and 65), reading (ranks between 56 and 63) and science (ranks between 63 and 64), as per its ranking among the 65 countries and economies who participated in the 2012 PISA assessment of 15-year-olds. Nevertheless, by engaging in PISA and OECD peer reviews the country is exploring how to best improve its education interventions so as to reach the goal of prosperity for all its citizens.