International universities soon able to open campuses in Indonesia
Foreign universities may soon dot the skyline of Jakarta, Indonesia. Source: Shutterstock/Andreas H

The best and brightest of Southeast Asia’s largest nation leave home in droves in pursuit of higher education – commonly in the United States, UK, Australia or the Netherlands.

This may soon be changing, however, with the Indonesian government flagging its intention to open up access to the local higher education sector, through partnerships with private Indonesian institutions. Students may not need to leave home to get a world class education.

According to, some five to ten foreign universities will be allowed to enter Indonesia in mid-2018.

“We give the chance for foreign higher learning institutions, especially world-class universities, to operate in Indonesia” said Muhammad Nasir, Indonesia’s Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister said as quoted by ABC News.

“The bottom line is collaboration with our universities,” he said. “If this is realised, of course it will have an impact on the local economy.”

According to Nasir, the University of Cambridge, University of Melbourne and University of Queensland have thus far expressed interest in operating in Indonesia.

Universities from Indonesia’s southern neighbour Australia have flourished in Asia – with many having their own campuses across the region. For example, Melbourne’s Monash University has Monash Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, while James Cook University has a campus in Singapore.

Despite one in four Indonesian students who go overseas choosing to study in Australia, the country’s universities have not yet been allowed to open up local campuses.

But Nick Bisley, Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University and Executive Director of La Trobe Asia warned: “Hold off on having celebratory nasi goreng until confirmed and details combed over.”

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