Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed his cabinet to open the university sector to 100 percent foreign investment, and allow overseas institutions to open campuses in Indonesia, the head of the country’s investment board said on Wednesday (05/04).
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy has had long-standing policies to protect sectors such as higher education from foreign investment, but Jokowi’s administration has been trying to open more areas.
The move could also help raise lagging education standards in the country of more than 250 million people, where students often opt to study abroad if they can afford it.
“We’re going to go from zero percent to 100 percent foreign ownership allowed overnight,” Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman Thomas Lembong told a conference.
Thomas gave no timeframe for when the policy will take effect.
The government has pledged to ease ownership rules in sectors that are partly, or entirely, closed to foreigners in a bid to attract more overseas investment.
Indonesia currently only allows foreign schools and universities to operate in the country if they collaborate with local partners and meet certain conditions.
Under Indonesian law, the government has to allocate a fifth of its budget to education-related spending. But the World Bank said increased spending had not led to a meaningful improvement in the quality of education.
According to an International Student Assessment rankings for science, last carried out in 2015, Indonesia was in 61st place, well below Singapore at the top and Vietnam in eighth spot.