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National Education System of Indonesia

The Units of Education
The Paths of Education
Types of Education
Level of Education

The National Education System of Indonesia is generally aimed at elevating the intellectual life of the nation and developing the Indonesian people fully, i.e. as people who are devoted to God, have knowledge and skills, are in good physical and spiritual health, are independent and fair, and feel responsible for their countrymen and nation.

The education system also strives to create a patriotic spirit, strengthen love for the fatherland, enhance the nation spirit, social solidarity and awareness of nation history for the nation heroes, and create a forward-looking attitude. The learning and teaching climate has to generate self-confidence and a learning culture among all layers of society that induces an attitude and behavior of creativity, innovative thinking, and orientation toward the future.

The education system has its roots in the Indonesian culture based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. In the Law No. 2 of 1989 about National Education System, the system aims at generating abilities and increasing the standard of living and dignity of the Indonesian people in order to achieve the national development objectives. Based on the Law, the national education system is identified in terms of units, paths, types, and levels of education.

The Units of Education:

The units of education (school or out-of-school) organize learning and teaching activities, which are implemented respectively inside and outside the schools.

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The Paths of Education:

The education system is organized in two different paths, i.e. school and out-of-school education. School education is organized in schools through teaching and learning activities, which are gradual, hierarchical, and continuous. Out-of-school education is organized outside the formal schooling through teaching and learning activities, which may or may not be hierarchical and continuous. Education in the family as an important part of the national education system is an out-of-school education and provides religious, cultural, moral values and skills.

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Types of Education

The system consists of seven types of education, they are: (1) General education prioritizes expansion of general knowledge and improvement of skills for the student. Specialization is also needed in the last grade; (2) Vocational/technical education prepares students in mastering a number of specific vocational/technical skill needed for employment; (3) Special education provides important skills and abilities for students with physical and/or mental disabilities; (4) Service-related education aims at increasing abilities required for a government official or a candidate to implement a certain task; (5) Religious education prepares students to play a role which demand the mastery of specific knowledge about religion and related subject; (6) Academic-oriented education focuses primarily on improving the mastery of science; and (7) Professional education prepares students primarily on mastering specialized or job-related knowledge and skills.

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Level of Education

The level of education that includes formal school system consists of the following level of education, i.e. basic education, secondary education, and higher education. Apart from the levels of education mentioned above, pre-school education is also provided. Out-of-school education can be held at the outside schools and provided by governmental and non-governmental agencies of private sector and the community.

Basic Education is a general education of nine years, i.e. six years of primary and three years of junior secondary school. Junior secondary school consists of two types, namely general junior secondary school and vocational/technical junior secondary school. The goal of basic education is to develop students as individuals, members of society, citizens and members of mankind, as well as to prepare them to pursue study in secondary education. Basic Education is a compulsory education that providing the learners with basic knowledge and skills.

In addition to the Basic Education, there are also an Islamic Primary School called Madrasah Ibtidaiyah, equivalent to Primary School and an Islamic General Junior Secondary School called Madrasah Tsanawiyah, equivalent to General Junior Secondary School managed and run by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Secondary education is available to graduates of primary school. The paths of secondary education include general secondary school, vocational/technical secondary school, religious secondary school, service related secondary school, and special secondary school. Secondary education gives priority to expanding knowledge and developing students’ skills and preparing them to continue their studies to the higher level of education or the preparation of students to enter the world of work and expanding their professional attitude. The length of secondary education is three years for general secondary education and three or four years for vocational/technical education.

In addition to the Secondary Education, there is also an Islamic General Senior Secondary School called Madrasah Aliyah, equivalent to General Senior Secondary School managed and run by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Higher education is an extension of secondary education consisting of academic and professional education. Academic education is mainly aimed at mastering science, technology, and research, whereas professional education is more aimed at developing practical skills. Institutions involved in higher education are of the following types: academics, polytechnics, school of higher learning, institutes, and universities. The length of higher education is three years for diploma program and four years for bachelor’s degree program. After completion the bachelor’s degree program, students may continue to pursue the master’s degree program for two years and finally may continue to pursue the doctorate program for three years.

Pre-school education aims at stimulating physical and mental growth of children out-side of the family circle before entering primary education that can be held in format school system or out-of-school education. Among the types of pre-school education available are kindergartens at the formal school, playgroups and day-care centers at the out-of-school. Kindergarten is provided for children age 5 to 6 years for one to two years of education, while playgroups and day-care centers are for children at least 3 years old.

Type of Out-of-School Education consists of general education, religious education service-related education, and vocational education. Out-of-School Education may include courses, group learning such as packet A, B Income Generating Program, or any other option like apprenticeship.

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