Monday, March 14, 2011

Indonesian students abroad - between elitism and hope

While a lot of Indonesian children are not able to get a good education because their parents can not afford, on the other hand there are some of the elite society send their children to study abroad. As we know, send the kids to get education abroad requires substantial extra costs. Indeed, this is a situation of high-contrast.

Here are some assumption of Indonesian society (perhaps also in other developing countries) towards oversea graduates (from developed countries) of their children:
  1. Higher quality education.
  2. More competitive in employment.
  3. Certainly able to speak English.
  4. They were considered elite. (ps: I should end this points with question mark).
This post is not intended to look at one eye on education in Indonesia because there are many qualified people who graduate from Indonesia's school/university has sat on managerial level at large companies or become high officials in government. Beside that, there's a saying stated that quality of a person is not solely measured by his/her educational level, right?

Apart from the matter of elitism and gap above, I try to think outside the box towards Indonesian students abroad especially in developed countries. What is my hope on them? My hope is not solely they are smart in science but there is much more than that, that is they have a good insight and open mind towards pluralism, multiculturalism, democracy, gender equality, and think more globally as they return to home. I hope you would like to think like me, do not focused on elitism matter, but think they will bring changes into your outlook and changing the way of thinking in the right path. For me, this is the core of education!

Of course I also do not want them to forget their ancestral culture, so please back home and build your country.

Related post: Equalize bachelor's degree with diploma's degree?

11 comments:

  1. I have interacted with many students from different countries, but Indonesians have been quite rare. Do you know of any statistics regarding Indonesians studying overseas?

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  2. Although change doesn't depend on re-repatriated students with an idealistic attitude only, but I think you are damned right. Their contribution is necessary.

    Yet not only emerging countries experience brain-drain. The top-notch bright people will be lured by superior facilities of top-notch universities or by golden ties of money paid by the major players in the financial-economical field. We can't blame them if they choose to live abroad ( and often even change nationality), but is definitely is a pity for the home countries.

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  3. I could not agree more with Colson and this blog post. I prepare students on occasion who will study abroad to finish off their education, all have so far commented that they will return and live/work here, whether they will or not, time will tell and despite their families wealth and over whelming desire for their children to receive better education, I have found the students to be realistic and as down to earth students I have taught here.
    I hope they do return and will contribute to the countries growth in all areas from economic to cultural and beyond

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  4. @ Looney,
    I do not have complete statistics about Indonesian student overseas, because the Central Bureau of Statistics of Indonesia has not yet make this subject for statistics. I just knew it from the news on some media in Indonesia. Here are some reference for you (unfortunately in Bahasa Indonesia):

    1) Vice Minister of National Education, Fasli Jalal, said now the number of Indonesian students abroad reached 40,000 people:
    Source: News release as of 19 January 2010 from Seputar Indonesia.
    http://www.seputar-indonesia.com/edisicetak/content/view/298794/1/

    2) In the academic year of 1997/1998, the number of students from Indonesia studying in the United States reached more than 12,000 people. However, in the academic year of 2008/2009, they were only reached approximately 7,599 people. Indonesian students was only 1.1 percent of the total 672,000 international students studying in America in academic year of 2008/2009. It decreases because of the factor of costs, visa problem, and guarantor.
    Source: Jawa Pos National Network (JPNN).
    http://www.jpnn.com/read/2010/11/20/77549/Jumlah-Mahasiswa-RI-di-LN-Merosot-#

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  5. @ Colson,
    Indeed, for the short term it's not. But for the long term, as I said in this post, it will bring changes into your outlook and changing the way of thinking in the right path. If you dig deeper while reading this post, then you may feel an implicit value which you can catch.

    Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, senior prince of Saudi Arabia has questioned his kingdom about banning women to drive.
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/03/senior-saudi-prince-suggests-lifting-ban-on-women-driving/1

    and... he is graduated from Menlo College, California, U.S. (Maybe Looney knew about Menlo College).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Waleed_bin_Talal

    On your second paragraph... yes, it was the point :(

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  6. @ Luke,
    I do hope they will return and bring changes on the way of thinking in the right path. Please read my reply to Colson. See what I mean implicitly (long term changes)?

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  7. Tikno,

    The ability to speak English applies only to those who study in english speaking countries where most of Indonesian students go to. Don't forget there are also many Indonesian students in France, Germany and The Netherlands. In Germany and France most of the studies are in local language too unlike in The Netherlands where there are various studies in english vary from bachelor to PhD degree.

    I agree with Colson. The brilliants Indonesian students I know here were offered an interesting job at Dutch multinationals as soon as they were graduated. To build a strong CV they accepted it and stay here. Some of them who have come back to Indonesia found it hard to adjust themselves. They experience a cultural shock such as punctuality Indonesian way,traffic jam and other couleur locale which they are not used to anymore.

    If this might be a help, according to data from Nuffic: A total of 1450 Indonesians are studying in the Netherlands this academic year. Each year between 350 and 400 Indonesians enrol at Dutch universities and colleges.

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  8. @ Chezlorraine,

    You are right. Not all of them but most society here think like that in general.

    Your points in the second paragraph and also what was said by Colson is a problem that needs more attention by the Indonesian government. They are national assets and we must look at them as we see the account of "goodwill" in accounting - the intangible assets (knowledge within their brain) but quantifiable as a values beyond the tangible assets. But some people still thinking on what will I get soon if I spend my money. ;)

    Thank you for sharing the data about Indonesian students studying in the Netherland. You help this post!

    btw, how you look at your country after having much experience in Netherland.

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  9. Sorry for the late reply. You mean how I see Indonesia after all the years I have been living abroad? In order to build the country, proper education is strongly needed. So it makes me sad to see it has become more and more luxurious.Only people with money or the clever ones who have scholarship can access this in the country or abroad.

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  10. Chezlorraine,
    Sadly there is still a huge gap for schools in rural and urban areas.
    Thanks for your response

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  11. hi Tikno,

    how are you, I hope you are good :)

    I am very impressed with your posting. As you know actually this is the problem that I face currently and I think many of Indonesian Students as well.

    Sometimes people that have a big desire to continue their education in overseas is hindered by their limitation of financial and only upper class people can do it. We can grateful if we can win the scholarship, but as it's not such an easy matter, we just hope and trying hard.

    People that can cost their self to study abroad is sometimes is not always supported by their goodwill which as you said, will bring a changes and getting a knowledge that will very beneficial for their self and society but solely just chasing the title and prestige. (it just my subjective opinion)

    So I hope this can to be a concern for government that a lot of people needs financial support, because many from them has a big talented but do not have a support to hone their skill

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