Tuesday, January 15, 2013

America and Indonesia Higher Education

Education is a vital part of a nation regardless whether it is in a remote area in Africa or in highly civilized society in Europe. The higher education in The United States of America grabs people attention in Indonesia because, at first glance, it looks different.
One tangible difference is the academic system. America is the leader in higher education in the world. Many American universities rank in top ten of the best universities in the world is an indispensable proof of how sophisticated the colleges are (http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2011). One of sophisticated part of them is the academic system. Almost all of America universities use computer based classroom/curriculum management on carrying out the education. “It allows the professor to engage the students in topics and questions associated with the course by setting up a variety of discussion groups on-line within the class (Elisa Eland, 15). In contrast, Indonesia is a developing country which put education development among the top priorities. “Indonesian Government has realized since the last chapter of the First Long-Term Development Period (1989-1993) that education is the most important component in boosting all areas of national development” (http://www.unesco.org/education/wef/countryreports/indonesia/rapport_1.html).  However, its development has not reached all parts of the archipelago yet. Thus, not all universities in Indonesia use the computer and internet.
Despite of this difference, there are still several similarities in education of the two countries.
Both America and Indonesia have two kinds of university, public and Private University. “A public university is a university that is predominantly funded by public means through a national or sub national government” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_university). Meanwhile private university is the opposite of public university which is not owned by government. Another similarity of these two democratic countries is the use of secular system in public university. In other word, higher public education in both countries is free of any creed or religion. It is reasonable because America and Indonesia are heterogeneous countries which have many different backgrounds of people who live together. However, “religious schools are permitted outside of the public school system” (Reader’s Choice, 103). Similar to Indonesia, it allows people to build religious school or universities in the country.
To sum up, both America and Indonesia have several differences and similarities in higher education. Will the difference become alike in the future? This will be an interesting thing to see.

Eland, Alisa. U.S. Classroom Culture: Washington D.C. NAFSA, 2009