Education overview

Literacy rates, uniforms and school hours

Education overview

The standard of education in Indonesia varies, with rural schools being more basic than those found in the cities. Everyone in Indonesia must receive nine years of compulsory education.

The education system in Indonesia is divided into two parts, formal education and informal education. Formal education (public and private) is divided up into primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Informal education (private) is made up of primary education (playgroup or kindergarten), homeschooling (elementary to high school levels) and pesantren (Islamic boarding schools for high school students).

The literacy rate in Indonesia has been rising steadily since 1980. In 2008 99.46% of young people (15-24) could read and write. The adult rate rose from 67% in 1980 to 92.12% in 2008.

School uniform

Most public and private schools require students to wear a uniform on school days. On Mondays, and some commemorative days when schools hold flag-raising ceremonies, all students across the country wear the same uniform. This denotes whether they are in elementary, secondary or high school.

The school day

The school week lasts between 5-6 days from Monday to Friday/Saturday. It’s usually around 40 hours per week. The school day varies depending on your region, but usually starts around 7:00 and finishes around 13.00. There are often a couple of 15 minute breaks within this time.

Most children take a packed lunch to school or eat in the school cafeteria. Students aren’t usually allowed home for lunch and private schools won’t allow students off the premises during school hours. Some international and national-plus schools provide a lunch for the students.

The school year

The school year starts in mid-July and finishes in mid-June. There is a break in December and for the Islamic holiday Eid (marking the end of Ramadan), the timing of which varies from year to year. International and some private schools set the dates themselves, so you may find international schools that follow the typical European system of September to June for example.

Further reading

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