In Indonesia, there is a twelve-year
compulsory schooling for all children from the age of
seven. In reality, almost every fifth student leaves
school after the first six years. The drop-off is mainly
among poor children in the countryside.
The proportion of children starting in the six-year
compulsory school has increased from 40 percent in the
1960s to 92 percent in the 2016/2017 school year. The
proportion of pupils who move on to the first of two
three-year supplementary stages has increased from 13
percent in 1968 to 77 percent in the 2014/2015 school
Country facts of Indonesia, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Elementary school should be free of charge, but
parents often pay for books and school uniforms, for
example. According to the constitution, 20 percent of
the state budget must go to education, but most years
the government has not lived up to that requirement.
Teaching is of varying quality; cities like Jakarta have
many good schools, while education is poorer elsewhere,
where there is a shortage of educated teachers.
There are both state and Muslim and Christian
schools. More than 80 percent of children in the
six-year primary school attend state schools. In the
Muslim schools (madrasah), students are taught Arabic,
while studying the Qur'an and Islamic law (Sharia). The
Christian schools have a good reputation and many Muslim
children therefore attend. Indonesian is the language of
instruction, but in the three lowest grades, local
languages are often used.
There are around 3,300 state or private higher
education institutions of varying quality. Universitas
Indonesia in Jakarta is considered the country's premier
university. Roughly one in four pupils who finish high
school starts some form of higher education according to
the UN agency Unesco. Some young Indonesians choose to
study abroad. Indonesia suffers from a shortage of
highly educated labor, especially in technical
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FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
91.9 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
95.4 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
20.5 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
20.5 percent (2015)
IS-faithful Jad behind new suicide act
A suicide bomber belonging to the IS faithful group Jad kills one person and
injures six other people in an attack on a police station in Medan on Sumatra.
About 45 people are arrested in the police chase on suspected perpetrators,
while the two men who made the bomb belt are killed by police as they resist
arrest. Many of the arrested belong to Jad.
Prabowo Subianto becomes new Minister of Defense
President Widodo surprises many when he presents his new government with 38
ministers; his political arch-rival, retired General Prabowo Subianto, becomes
the new Minister of Defense. Subianto, who accused the Widodo government of
massive fraud in the election, is suspected of human rights violations while
serving as general in connection with President Suharto's fall in 1998. Amnesty
International calls the designation "a dark day for human rights". Among the
ministers is also noticed Sri Mulyani Indrawati, former CEO of the World Bank,
who will remain as Finance Minister. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also retains
his post. Among the ministers are also entrepreneurs and media moguls. Security
Minister Wiranto, who is being rehabilitated following an assassination attempt,
is not among the new ministers.
Controversial laws of corruption are adopted
Parliament adopts a law that protesters around the country consider weakening
the authorities' efforts to fight corruption; The law means that the country's
reputed anti-corruption authority KPK must be supervised by a newly established
board. KPK's ability to intercept suspects is also limited. At least three
people have been killed in the demonstrations that have been going on in
Indonesia since a controversial legislative package was presented to Parliament
(see September 2019). The vote on the legislative proposals has
been postponed by President Widodo.
Attempt to murder a powerful minister
Indonesia's influential security minister Wiranto faces a murder attempt when
he gets out of his car in Pandeglang on Java. A married couple, who are both
members of the banned IS-faith network Jad, stabs the general in the stomach
twice. Wiranto is taken to hospital for immediate surgery and then reported to
be on the road of improvement. As Minister of Security, Wiranto has great
influence over both foreign and defense policy. He is popular with some
Indonesians but also controversial for his background as Army Chief under
President Suharto. Among other things, he has been accused of bearing ultimate
responsibility for the grave human rights violations committed by the military
during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor (see East Timor, modern history).
The Jad network was, among other things, behind a series of attacks against
churches in Surabaya (see May 2018).
Tens of thousands leave Papua
About 16,000 residents have fled the city of Wamena and its environs since
the violence broke out there (see September 2019), the military
announces. At the same time, the Air Force has evacuated some 11,400 people,
mainly Indonesian migrants from other parts of the country, from the area.
The wave of protests is growing, two deaths are being investigated
President Widodo appoints an investigation into two deaths that occurred
during the wave of protests sweeping across the country since contentious
legislative proposals were presented to Parliament (see September 20,
2019). The dead are partly a 19-year-old engineering student who died
on September 26 from head injuries he suffered in connection with a riot with
police in Kendari city of Sulawesi, and another demonstrator who was shot dead
with sharp ammunition in the same city. The police refuse to use sharp
ammunition against the protesters.
Big protests against legislative proposals
The street protests against the proposed legislative changes (see
September 20, 2019) are escalating and spreading throughout the
country. They are fast growing to become one of the largest demonstrations in
the country since the fall of Suharto in 1998. The protests also target
legislative changes that are feared to limit the anti-corruption authority KPK's
activities. A student is reported to have been killed in connection with
protests in Sulawesi and hundreds of people around the country are injured,
including in confrontations with police. Amnesty International criticizes police
for "massive violence".
The violence in Papua is escalating
The wave of violence that erupted in Papua in mid-August seems to escalate.
At least 22 people are killed when a crowd sets fire to a public building in the
town of Wamena. According to authorities, people are burned to death inside the
building. The violent riots were triggered by racism directed at Papuans, but
the unrest also has elements of separatism, as groups fighting for a free Papua
are also out on the streets. According to the authorities, the majority of
victims in the fire in Wamena are not Papuans, but immigrants from elsewhere in
the country. In Jayapura, three civilians and one soldier are killed when
security forces clash with stone-throwing teens. The soldier must have been
killed with a knife while the protesters must have been shot to death with
rubber-coated bullets. Thousands of civilians, including many women and
It is proposed that sex outside marriage be illegal
A controversial bill is presented to Parliament for a vote, but President
Widodo postpones the vote and asks members to think about the appropriateness of
the proposal. The bill means that sex outside of marriage is criminalized and
can give up to one year in prison. Being cohabiting without being married
becomes illegal and punishable by up to six months in prison, if the proposal is
adopted. In addition, it will be illegal to insult the president, the vice
president, religions, government institutions and symbols such as the flag and
the national anthem. It is also punishable with up to four years in prison to
perform an abortion unless there are serious medical reasons or if the woman
becomes pregnant through rape. In several places in Indonesia, people are
protesting against the bill.
Widodo wants to move the capital
The Widodo government proposes to Parliament that the capital of Indonesia be
moved from Jakarta to eastern Kalimantan (on the island of Borneo). The reason
for the move is that the giant city of Jakarta has serious problems with
congestion, pollution, traffic chaos and that the ground level is falling
rapidly as the city is built on wetland. The new capital will be built near the
current cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda. According to Widodo, the area is
both strategically located and protected from natural disasters. If Parliament
approves the move, it means that the country's power center will disappear from
Java, where over half the population lives and where economic and political
power has traditionally been gathered. However, Jakarta will remain the
country's economic and trade center. Construction of the new city is scheduled
to begin in 2020 and around 1.5 million civil servants will start moving. The
total cost is estimated at $ 33 billion. With suburbs, Jakarta is estimated to
have around 30 million inhabitants.
New violence in Papua
21th of August
About 5,000 people take part in violent protests in the city of Timika in
Papua. Unrest also erupts in the towns of Sorong and Fakfak. Around 1,200 extra
soldiers and police are deployed in the area. Protesters throw stones, vandalize
shops and homes and set fire to a local market, while police respond with tear
gas and dozens of arrests. A number of police officers and protesters are
injured but no deaths are reported.
Crawling in Papua
Clashes erupt when thousands of people walk the streets of the city of
Manokwari in Western Papua to protest the arrest of 43 Papuan university
students temporarily and interrogated in Surabaya on Independence Day for
tearing down the Indonesian flag. The provincial parliament is set on fire and
severely damaged. Shops and vehicles were also set on fire. Three police
officers are injured in the unrest. It is unknown if any protesters are injured.
The economy is slowing down
Quarterly reports show that the country's economic growth rate is slowing
down as a result of the US-China trade war. Indonesia is getting worse pay for
export goods such as coal and palm oil. The downturn is a challenge for
President Widodo, who has promised major infrastructure investments that require
money in the Treasury. Widodo failed to fulfill a promise of 7% annual growth
during its first term of office 2014–2019.
Claws in Jakarta
Thousands of supporters for defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto
go out in peaceful demonstrations in Jakarta in protest of Joko Widodo's
election victory. During the evening the protest actions become violent, cars
are burned and the police are attacked with firefighters. Since Subianto had
previously warned of riots on Widodo being declared a winner, around 30,000 riot
police have been called out on the capital's streets, and they are now meeting
the protesters with tear gas. According to Jakarta's governor, six people are
killed and around 200 are injured. The police cannot confirm the information and
it is also not known how the people died.
President Widodo re-elected
President Widodo remains in office for another term. It is clear when the
electoral authority reports the official result of the presidential election
held on April 17. Widodo receives 55.5 percent of the vote compared to 44.5
percent for Prabowo Subianto. Widodo's strongest holdings are Bali and East
Java, while Prabowo Subianto receives the most votes in the conservative
provinces of Aceh and West Java. Prabowo Subianto appeals against the election
result, which he believes is based on electoral fraud.
Small changes in Parliament
The result of the parliamentary elections shows small changes compared to the
2014 election. PDI-P remains the largest, followed by Golkar and Gerindra.
Golkar backs slightly while PDI-P and Gerindra increase a bit. DP also backs, as
do Muslim PPPs. Muslim PKB and PKS are increasing. PAN goes slightly backwards
while the Nasdem party increases significantly. Hanura leaves the lower house.
Indonesia goes for election
Indonesia is holding its presidential and parliamentary elections for the
first time on the same day. Elections are also conducted for governor and mayor
posts as well as for provincial governments and local parishes. A total of 193
million eligible voters can choose from a total of 245,000 candidates. It takes
at least a month to compile the public results, when everything from canoes to
elephants will be used to gather ballot papers in the most isolated districts.
In the important presidential elections, as in the 2014 elections, President
Widodo and retired General Prabowo Subianto meet. In the opinion polls, Widodo
has a clear lead. Prabowo Subianto accuses the electoral authority of massive
and systematic electoral fraud in favor of Widodo. The electoral authority
admits that the enormous electoral process has some shortcomings, mainly in the
distribution of election materials,
Trade agreement with Australia
4th of March
Indonesia and Australia sign a bilateral trade agreement, which means that
Australia will gradually abolish all import duties for Indonesian goods and
Indonesia gradually removes 94 percent of its customs duties. The agreement is
expected to increase trade between the two countries: Australia hopes to export
more beef and sheep products, while Indonesia wants to sell more cars, textiles,
timber, electronics and medical equipment to the neighboring country. In 2017,
trade between the two countries amounted to just under $ 12 billion.