The United States of America values its relationship with Indonesia as a country of increasing strategic and economic importance. Indonesia’s ASEAN leadership, G20 presidency, and growing influence throughout and beyond the Indo-Pacific region provide ample opportunities to strengthen cooperation under the US-Indonesia Strategic Partnership.In that spirit of partnership, Indonesia and the United States strengthened their ties to increase access to quality education in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (MoECRT), the United States government, and the National Endowment Fund (LPDP), hosted the Higher Education Forum: Connect and Collaborate. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s TEMAN LPDP and Higher Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) programs organized the forum, taking two five-year initiatives, each over $10 million, in order to support Indonesia’s priority of increasing access to quality education.
The forum united higher education leaders and experts from 12 universities in the United States, incorporating Northeastern University, Arizona State University, and California at Davis. It helped in bringing together US Embassy Education USA representatives with the Higher Education Stakeholders of Indonesia, for instance, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Educational Management Fund Association (LPDP), and more than 50 universities in Indonesia. The participants in the forum discussed the potential for collaboration in the spheres of curriculum development, degree and non-degree programs, student/faculty exchange programs, and research collaboration.
The Acting Mission Director of USAID Indonesia, Laura Gonzales, said that equipped with a solid education, the youth of Indonesia will be able to access the skills and address some of the toughest challenges in the development sector the world is facing today. It is a proud moment for USAID as it is able to strengthen its ties with Indonesia, which will enhance its accessibility to quality education in the United States, which is the abode of some of the best universities and higher education institutions in the world.
The participants of the forum also discussed ideas to address the challenges experienced by Indonesians. They discussed the difficulties, particularly for those living in rural areas, in obtaining information about US university programmes and the admissions process.Moreover, the participants discussed the potential ideas of US universities and opportunities for collaboration to help the Indonesian government achieve the scholarships that are targeted at students for degree programs and for short-term technical programs.
The Indonesian Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Ir. Suharti, said that the higher education institutions in Indonesia are encouraged to form cooperation with international partners. For instance, five policies have been launched by the MoECRT to foster collaboration between Indonesian universities and higher education institutions from other countries; fund matching for research and academic partnerships; visiting scholar programs; and one-semester programs outside the campus that are fully accredited; for instance, the Indonesia International Student Mobility Award (IISMA), undergraduate and graduate scholarships; and setting up a presence in Indonesia.
The United States has nearly 4,000 accredited higher education institutions that have a proven track record of producing the brightest minds in the world. Providing these quality higher education opportunities to Indonesians in the United States will enhance Indonesia’s future workforce and support Indonesia in maintaining and achieving sustained economic growth and developmental goals.