14 June 2008

University Education in Indonesia

University education in Indonesia is like most other places not free, it is a privilege and not a right! This means that a university education might be your ticket to a better job and perhaps a larger salary but it is going to cost you. Simply, if you or your parents can afford it then a university education is a reality. If you or your parents are not quite so well to do then a university education might only become a reality if you are able to secure a scholarship that takes care of your admission and tuition fees.

This is no different to Australia. University education used to be a lot cheaper and this was because the government was throwing money into the higher education sector. However, economic rationalization meant that the government decided the best means of recouping some of this money was to institute a system where the user pays. In this case the user pays through the tax system. Simply, the government covers the cost of the education and the recipient of that education then pays back the money to the government through the tax system. The amount owed is indexed to inflation. I am still paying my university education debts off!

The Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) makes university education possible for many but it ensures that many people remain in debt for long periods of time after they graduate.

Perhaps in the aftermath of the Constitutional Court decision that held that the government must contribute 20% of the State Budget to the education sector that some additional money can be thrown at the higher education sector. However, there are simply more pressing concerns at primary and high school level in terms of funding education.

If the government does not put any money into higher education then State-funded universities will have to rely on increasing commercialization to make ends meet. This will be at the expense of students and their education. In contrast, the commercial interests of private universities is far less complicated as from inception these institutions have been all about making money off their students and research activities. The Campus Asia review of higher education in Indonesia makes this point clear when it ranks Universitas Pelita Harapan as the number two university in Indonesia.

Personally, education to the undergraduate level must be free.


Polar Bear said...

I fully agree Rob, Undergrad education should be free…..

BUT: (notice there is always a But in my life)…

Taxpayers are funding it. The obvious logic says that post graduation the graduate becomes a tax payer, and thus the income stream flows on. That ONLY happens where the graduate has a degree that is of some bloody use to society.

Yep, arts are fun degrees, but Australia is a resources and commodities based economy. (I watch a bunch of “arts wankers” of TV the other night trying to justify the artistic merit of photographs of an underage naked girl….. wankers is an apt description.). We can only handly so many art critics and artists.

So, sure the taxpayer foots the bill not the individual, BUT the taxpayer picks the subject. And if grotty student doesn’t like being told he is doing Science, or Engineering, then he can piss off and pay for it him/herself.

Or am I being harsh on those who use my tax money….?

Rob Baiton said...

I guess that is why undergraduate degrees that get you into high paying employment are more expensive :D

If you are using public money then I would agree that there needs to be a much greater degree of accountability.

GJ said...

Rob, Nothing is free!!! Fact of life.

I think university education is bloody cheap!!! If I compare it to commercial training courses.
I was lucky that my uni education was carried out later in life and I paid up front, @ $300-$500 per subject per semester, great value.

You could always join the armed forces if you want someone to pay for your degree.

Rob Baiton said...


Granted, nothing is free!

However, I still think education could be a little freer than it is now.

Paying up front if you can afford it makes it cheaper in the long run, I agree!

Not every one is cut out for the armed forces. I had the smarts but always failed at the fat bastard stage! Although, I gotta admit my brother is in the navy and I have seen some fat bastards on some of the ships that he has served on!

Commercial courses - yep, bloody expensive (specially if you're training in a captive market)!

therry said...

Is this the reason why many young Australians choose to go to TAFE instead and get a job straight after?

There are many who also don't make a big deal of having a university degree. They seem to be happy enough to work straight away after they finish college.

And the good thing about it is that employers in Australia prefer their candidates to have more work experiences rather than degrees.

The same thing cannot be applied in Indonesia - here, a university degree is EVERYTHING.

I used to work in a company where I had a very smart assistant but my manager would not promote her, just because she was a high-school graduate. Apparently it was the company's policy.

How unfair!

Pangeran said...

I'm GMU student, and what I know better in my uni is there's nothing free in GMU, it depends on who pay it (our parents, company, government, or university). so once again nothing is free.

Rob Baiton said...


Probably not!


Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the comment!

As GJ said nothing is free. The only difference seems to be who pays for it in the end! But I still think education should be free.