International Education Wrap – 31 July

Intellectual heavyweights make bilateral visits | Indonesia takes reins of ASEAN education committee | Academics retain pathway to residency

With Indonesia now well and truly back into the swing of things after the Lebaran holiday, there are plenty of international education stories to discuss.

Australia and Indonesia are working towards their end-of-year deadline for the completion of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. According to The Jakarta Post, the deal could eliminate tariffs on more than 10,000 types of goods.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had a “casual chat” on the sidelines of the G20 in Hamburg to advance proceedings.

There are still question marks over how the tricky issues surrounding cigarettes, paper and palm oil will affect negotiations. Here’s Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo being questioned about the deal.

At the end of June, Australia released the results of its national census. It showed there are now 73,218 Australians of Indonesian origin, an increase of 15.9% since the last census in 2011.

The ABC created this great graphic article using the census data. It’s lots of fun to play with on your morning commute, unless your morning commute is in an angkot, in which case the moving dots might make you feel queasy and this publication recommends you wait until you’re out.

Education Relations

Australia top destination for Indonesian students

The number of Indonesians studying abroad is expected to grow because of its growing middle class, according to ICEF Monitor. Outbound student numbers at universities have increased to almost 42,000, an increase of 35% over the last decade. Many more Indonesians are studying abroad in vocational and English language programs. Australia is the top overseas destination for Indonesian students, with around 20,000 students enrolled in 2016.

Australia has launched its #AussieBanget Corner at Bali’s Udayana University as part of its efforts to attract more Indonesian students. The facility includes Australian academic and cultural resources, as well as information about scholarships.

Intellectual heavyweights make bilateral visits

Former Indonesian ministers for foreign affairs and trade, Dr Marty Natalegawa and Dr Mari Pangestu, spoke at the Perth USAsia Centre, based at the University of Western Australia. Together with a series of experts, the pair engaged in an “important discussion on the shared future of Indonesia and Australia,” according to John Blaxland from the Australian National University (ANU).

ANU academic and intellectual architect of APEC, Prof Peter Drysdale, spoke at the annual Hadi Soesastro Policy Forum in Jakarta and Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung. At the Bandung event, Prof Drysdale praised ASEAN as a success, despite its detractors. In the absence of US leadership, he suggested Indonesia can be a leader on global trade, especially through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Language ambassador program

The Asia Education Foundation is teaming up with the Australia Awards program to launch the Indonesian Language Learning Ambassadors (ILLA) scheme. ILLA will bring together Indonesian scholarship recipients studying education with Australian schools. Applications for Australian schools wanting to participate in the program close at 5pm, 1 September.


Indonesia takes reins of ASEAN education committee

Indonesia has assumed the presidency of the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), taking over from Thailand for a two-year term. According to Thailand’s The Nation, the Thai education minister described Indonesia as the “big brother” in the region, and said Thailand is looking forward to “working closely with Indonesia in the future to improve our education system.”

Freer movement in ASEAN

It’s set to become easier for students and professionals to find work throughout ASEAN, with the implementation of the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF). Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and now the Philippines have developed national frameworks, which will be integrated into a regional framework by 2018.

Students bringing home the gold

Indonesian students did great things in international STEM competitions in July. SMA (senior high school) students and budding chemists picked up one gold and three silver medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad. This year’s performance in Thailand exceeded last year’s effort in Georgia, where Indonesia won two silvers and two bronzes.

At this year’s International Physics Olympiad in Yogyakarta, Indonesian students won one gold and two silvers. To complete the trifecta, SD (primary school) students picked up a bronze at the Mathematics World Competition in Hong Kong.

VP calls on universities to merge

Vice President Jusuf Kalla called on private Indonesian universities to merge to reduce operational costs and improve their quality. According to Netral English, Indonesia currently has more than 4,500 universities, 2,000 more than China despite China’s much larger population.


Academics retain pathway to residency

Overseas academics and senior university staff have been granted a reprieve from the government’s new visa rules. The original proposal would have restricted international academics to a two-year visa with no pathway to permanent residency, but the government has since reversed its position. According to Times Higher Education, “university lecturers, vice-chancellors and faculty heads, along with several scientific and technical occupations, will be restored to a skilled migration list, meaning that they will be eligible for four-year visas with a pathway to permanent residency.”

Study shows positive outcomes for international students

A new study by the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum (AUIDF) has shown that international students are generally satisfied with their education and are largely successful in finding employment after graduating from Australian universities. Over 80% of the 3,800 respondents indicated they were satisfied with their education in Australia. According to the study, 83% of graduates from 2012 and 70% from 2014 were either employed full-time or self-employed.

Academic savages Australia’s foreign language performance

Executive Director at the Asia Education Foundation in Melbourne, Tim Mayfield, criticised Australia for failing in the study of Asian languages. While more Australians than ever speak a language other than English at home, 30% fewer students studied another language in their final year of high school in 2016 than in 1960, he wrote in the University of Melbourne’s online publication, Pursuit.

“Australia is not just failing at languages (especially Asian languages), we are failing spectacularly.”

If you or your students are not convinced of the merits of studying a language other than English, earlier this year the Australia Indonesia Youth Association put together this great little piece on why you should study Indonesian.


That’s all for this month’s “ASC International Education Wrap”. We’d love to hear your feedback, so please contact us via our website or our Twitter account @AscUpi with any comments or suggestions.

Written by Angus Blackman, Media and Communications Officer at the Australian Studies Centre. Photo by Flickr user Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Australian Studies Centre is based at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia.

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