One of the most crucial considerations parents should think about when planning to move to Indonesia is the school options available for their children. It is only natural for these parents to feel apprehensive with the thought of enrolling their kids in a totally different and new environment. There are now a lot of available schooling options beyond the usual public or private distinction that many people are used to. Take a look at the short overview of the common educational options for parents and students to choose from.
Even though the Ministry of Education doesn’t allow adding the word international to the name of a school since 2015 because of concerns about misusing the term, most schools remain to be colloquially called international schools. These schools often use a Cambridge or IB curriculum with an allowance for several Indonesian topics. They stick with the typical school week of 5 days, from around 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. English is often the language of instruction.
The students come from Indonesia and different parts of the world. The teaching staff is mostly expat but these schools also employ Indonesian teachers. The facilities in an international school are usually excellent such as computer facilities, musical instruments, libraries, sporting facilities, and others to allow students to enjoy an extensive array of curricular activities.
National schools are schools following the Indonesian culture. These are divided into Sekolah Dasar, Sekolah Menengah Pertama, and Sekolah Menengah Atas. There are also private and public schools. Public schools are usually numbered according to city while proper names are given to private schools. Indonesian schools often follow a school week of 6 days with Friday just a half day. For most part, these schools run from 7 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. Indonesian curriculum obliges religious education in 1 out of 6 sanctioned state religions. But, in rural areas in which there are not a lot of adherents outside the primary religion, it is also possible to teach only one religion.
National Plus School
National plus schools adhere to the Indonesian national curriculum, adding components from the international curriculum, additional English instructions, and more extracurricular activities. You might find this a bit confusing, though. While there is an existing accreditation body, there are no standards enforced by the government. This is why the quality of these national plus schools can vary a lot, from schools of the same quality as the best international school, to schools that could have one expat teacher handling all English classes.
Islamic schools have recently gained popularity and can be found in almost all major cities. These schools are under the Ministry of Religion’s jurisdiction instead of the Ministry of Education. This immediately clears the priorities of these schools. Just like National Schools in the secular education, Islamic schools focuses mainly on Arabic and Islamic Studies. Student attire adheres to the requirements of the Islamic religion as well as the rest of the curricular activities. The cautions applied to national schools are applicable to Islamic schools as well such as rigid curriculum, lack of facilities, and others.
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