The People of Indonesia, Education
Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesian girls, Depok, rural society, Dutch children
Under colonial rule, education in Indonesia was designed mainly to prepare Dutch children and the children of native elite for administrative tasks. In 1903 a primary school for Indonesian girls opened, and by 1940 a system of schools for native Indonesians existed alongside the elite Dutch system. Following independence in 1949, the new government tried to expand the educational system but was hampered by a lack of funds. In the late 1960s the government began promoting elementary education, which in Indonesia lasts for six years. Since 1990 compulsory education includes elementary schooling and three years of lower secondary schooling. An additional three years of upper secondary schooling are optional.
In the 1994-1995 school year 29.7 million Indonesian children attended elementary schools: About 82 percent of girls and 97 percent of boys reach the fourth grade. Secondary schools are attended by 48 percent of school-age girls and 56 percent of school-age boys. In the mid-1990s some 1.6 million Indonesian students attended vocational institutes. The higher school attendance among boys reflects the values of a largely conservative, rural society, although the gap in schooling between boys and girls has begun to narrow. In 2001 some 97 percent of Indonesian females and 98 percent of males were literate. The economic crisis of the late 1990s caused some children to withdraw temporarily from school because their families could no longer afford school fees.
Indonesia has more than 50 government-operated universities and more than 1,000 private universities. The largest and most important universities are the University of Indonesia, which has campuses in Jakarta and Depok, on the Jakarta-West Java border; Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta; Padjadjaran University in Bandung; and Hasanuddin University in Makassar. The Bandung Institute of Technology is regarded as one of Indonesia’s elite educational institutions. Atma Jaya University in Jakarta and Parahyangan University in Bandung are highly regarded private universities.
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