The Education Structure of Indonesia

Category: Study Destinations
Posted on September 07, 2019

Ministry of national education centrally controls the education sector in Indonesia. The government of Indonesian have made decisive steps in the field of education by giving free education and greater equality to every child of the country. Schools in urban areas provide quality education with well-equipped and well-trained teachers. However, the rural area lacks behind. In recent years, the government has started to allocate more funds in equal distribution to schools throughout the country.

Let’s get a little deeper into the education structure of Indonesia. There are four stages of education level, which starts with Pre-school and scales up to higher sections. We shall look at each step in detail.

Pre-school - Taman Kanak-Kanak

Many children go to playgroup from a very tender age (2yrs old) before pre-school. Pre-schooling, which is also called Taman Kanak-Kanak, is optional and offered to children under the age of four. Private enterprises with fees ordinarily payable run these schools.

Primary School - Sekolah Dasar

Primary schools are compulsory to attend for children in the age group between six and eleven. This level of schooling is free and regulated by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. There are three categories of schools which are looked upon by;

  • Secular
  • Government-run
  • Religious establishments (Islamic Madrassas)

Primary section has six levels of classes which are broad that covers;

  • Basic skills
  • Physical education
  • Languages etc.

Secondary School - Sekolah Menengah Pertama and Sekolah Menengah Atas

Secondary Schools splits into two sections;

  • Junior level
  • Senior-level

Each level lasts for three years each, where Junior high schooling is free and compulsory. However, the senior level is not entirely free as some fees levied for the top programs.

Junior level students can choose to enter senior high school and pursue the next level with their own subject choices, such as languages or social sciences, or specialize in engineering or business. Vocational schools are also available, where the focus is more on teaching practical skills and training.

Excellent and bright students get opportunities through scholarship and sponsorship. The general secondary school curriculum which is regulated by the Minister of Education and Culture (No. 061/U/1993) are as follows;

  • 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
  • Arts education

Language program includes;

  • Indonesian language and literature
  • English language
  • Other international languages
  • Cultural history

The natural science program includes;

  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics

The social science program includes;

  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Public administration
  • Anthropology

The variety of programs improves children’s abilities and stimulate good relationships with the natural, social, and cultural environment. School also engage students with other activities like;

  • Scouting
  • Arts and craft
  • Music
  • School health activities
  • Sports
  • First aid programs.

Vocational Secondary Education

Vocational schools provide students with three to four years of training and education. The specially designed courses take into considerations, the perceived present and future demands of the job market and employment types.

There are six curriculum groups of Vocational education;

The agricultural and forestry group - For work opportunities in areas like;

  • Agribusiness
  • Animal husbandry
  • Agronomy
  • Fisheries
  • Agriculture production management

The industrial technology group - It offers professions in various sectors like;

  • Building construction
  • Mining
  • Marine engineering
  • Graphics
  • Textiles
  • Informatics
  • Industrial instrumentation

The business and management group - which deals in the career-making in;

  • Accounting
  • Office management
  • Finance and banking
  • Trade
  • Secretarial work

The community welfare group - This group prepares for targeting employment in;

  • Social services
  • Community health
  • Community development

The tourism group - Students make their career in ;

  • Hotel,
  • Catering
  • Fashion
  • Beauty occupations

The arts and handicraft group - Where the skills and talent are focused on;

  • Applied arts
  • Visual arts,
  • Handicraft industry

Special Education

There are individual schools for students with physical, mental, and behavioral disabilities with better facilities and trained teachers to equip them with their problems. Multiple agencies organize programs and funds in individual schools like;

  • Ministry of Education and Culture (Government)
  • Other ministries
  • Private organizations
  • Nongovernmental organizations

Higher Education

The program structure at a higher level inherited from the Dutch colonial period consists of;

  • Bachelor’s program
  • Master’s program
  • Doctoral program

There are different levels of diploma programs and specialist programs. For diploma programs, there are four levels;

Diploma programs

The Diploma I - The first level of study is for 20 to 50-semester credit units, and it takes over 2 to 4 semesters to complete after secondary education.

The Diploma II - This level of study is for 80 to 90-semester credit units, and it takes over 4 to 6 semesters to complete

The Diploma III - This level of education is for 110 to 120-semester credit units, and it takes over 6 to 10 semesters to complete

The Diploma IV - This level of study is for 144 to 160-semester credit units, and it takes over 8 to 14 semesters to complete


Specialist programs

Specialist I - This level of study is for 36 to 50-semester credit units, and it takes over 4 to 10 semesters to complete

Specialist II - This level of education is for 40 to 50-semester credit units, and it takes over 4 to 10 semesters after completing Specialist I program or its equivalent studies.

The master’s program will have 36 to 50-semester credit units with the thesis, theories, and practicals, and it takes four semesters to complete. And the study for a doctorate program requires 40-semester credit units along with a dissertation which is completed in four semesters.

Would you be interested in the school calendar and hours?

Schools in Indonesia are arranged into semesters that starts from August to June each year, where schools mostly run in the morning from 6.30am until afternoon. The timetable varies from school to school.

Well, the education system in Indonesia is improving year by year. The boosted initiatives and various scholarship programs will help this place to play a significant role in international education in the years to come. I hope the information will be useful and helpful. All the Best!!

Bhumika Sharma
Bhumika Sharma

Bhumika has more than 4 years of experience as a software engineer. Having done MCA from Dayananda sagar Institutions, Bangalore and BCA from Sikkim Manipal University, Sikkim, she found her calling as the head researcher at PlanAll. In her free time, her 5 year old daughter, Mishka, keeps her busy and happy.

Aditya Demian
September 12, 2019 - 10:10am
Aditya Demian September 12, 2019 - 10:10am

Thanks for giving such a wonderful Blog.

Nihal Singh
September 10, 2019 - 06:13am
Nihal Singh September 10, 2019 - 06:13am

Thank you very much for sharing this important information with us.

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