Indonesia’s Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education is optimistic that at least two foreign universities will open their doors in Indonesia this year after the Indonesian government had earlier decided to open opportunities for foreign, private universities to open branches in Indonesia through cooperation with local private universities.
Mohammad Nasir, Indonesia’s Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education, mentioned that several foreign universities – including the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, and the University of Melbourne – have all indicated that they are interested in opening a university branch in Indonesia. Nasir wants to see two successful pilot projects in Jakarta first before allowing more foreign universities to enter Indonesia.
Currently, Indonesian authorities are still studying all details and regulations surrounding the entrance of foreign universities in Indonesia, including the location of new universities. Nasir said he also expects that the establishment of foreign universities will be a point in comprehensive partnerships. For example, the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (IA-CEPA), which is still to be signed, is likely to include details about investment in education. However, the realization of foreign universities in Indonesia will not depend on such partnerships and therefore there is no need to wait for the singing of the partnership.
Nasir also emphasized that the Indonesian government will merely act as facilitator because foreign investment in universities is actually a business-to-business matter as the foreign university has to partner with a local counterpart.
In January 2018 the Indonesian government announced that foreign (private) universities will be able to operate in Indonesia under the strict requirement that they partner with existing local universities (also private ones, hence not the state universities). Meanwhile, the curriculum needs to focus on one of the following fields: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, technology, or management. Advantages of having a foreign university in Indonesia would be that Indonesian students will not have to travel far (and spend a lot of money) to obtain a prestigious degree far abroad. Meanwhile, it could in fact become a foreign exchange earner if students from other parts of Asia go to study in Indonesia at the local, foreign university.