The 21st century has seen a great change in the way people are educated, especially in emerging countries. An example of this is the application of international education in the local education system.
A good example of this is in Indonesia.
Within ten years, Indonesia had deregulated the previously rigid state education system and allowed local private schools to offer international education to its own citizens, as well as expatriate children.
This has allowed students residing in Indonesia to study locally CambridgeIInternational I.BAnd IGCSE United Kingdom programs in private schools in cities and towns across the islands of Indonesia. And it has achieved some astonishing results, with Indonesian children often ranked alongside their British and American counterparts equally.
Some critics of this policy have stated that while the state-provided education system sometimes lacks basic facilities, a new “elite” of Western-educated Indonesians is being created, who can afford the higher school fees to enter these international schools.
But studies have shown that in the 1990s, this newly educated “elite” was sent to study in Singapore, Australia and the USA, and now their Western-educated parents prefer to study close to their homes. It also allows more Indonesians to allow their children to obtain an international education, when previously they could not afford to send them abroad.
Many Indonesians have long looked west towards obtaining a better education, with many Indonesians today working in the countries’ urban centers with degrees from American and Australian universities.
Local critics cite the recent economic collapse in countries outside Indonesia, claiming that perhaps as economies failed – so did the education system that created the leaders who oversaw the economic decline of many of these countries, and Indonesia is imitating these countries a lot.
The system of ‘Western’ education offered by these schools, is international – but also in the long run may teach the values of countries that some say are alien to the local culture. Values that are based on “pop” culture and Western ideas, rather than Indonesian “family values”.
Some academics see this trend as disturbing, as a new generation of “Western” educated Indonesians could run Indonesia, at a time when some economists predict that China and India could be the main influence on Indonesian society.
Other critics say that students lose their cultural identity, becoming less national citizens, but more global citizens. They identify more with the United States than with their own culture, and often immigrate there once they have finished schooling.
Those who agree the changes are beneficial, claim that Indonesia will have a new generation of citizens willing and able to cooperate and compete in business with their Western counterparts. Bring wealth to Indonesia.
However, for most Indonesians, international education provides opportunities in and outside Indonesian society, which the state system can only provide through certain schools. Until that changes, hundreds of thousands of Indonesian children will attend local schools studying IB and IGCSES programmes, in some cases earning higher exam results than their peers in the USA and Europe.
(This article is part of a new series of articles based on education and training trends in the 21st century.)