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Equalize bachelor's degree with diploma's degree

At this time many Indonesian students continue to the higher education in various universities in Australia to obtain academic degrees such as Bachelor, Master or Doctorate. My three cousin and several other relatives also continue the higher education in Australia after finished Senior High School in Indonesia.

But I was startled after knowing the news from Antara News that the policy of Directorate General of Higher Education (Department of National Education) is to equalize Bachelor degree from several universities in Australia only equal to the Diploma-3 degree (D-3) in Indonesia. This policy was determined on 01 July 2009 within the Peraturan Direktur Jendral Pendidikan Tinggi (English : Regulation of Directorate General of Higher Education) Nomor:82/DIKTI/Kep/2009 concerning the assessment guidelines to certificate of foreign graduate. This regulation was followed up with the surat edaran Direktur Akademik (circular letter from Academic Director) No: 1850.1/D2.5/2009. At point no.2 of the letter was mentioned the list of the certificate equivalency of foreign college graduate. Click here to download the list. Bachelor degree from Australia which it considered equivalent to the Diploma-3 degree (D-3) in Indonesia are Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Bachelor of Arts.

"Equalize graduated scholar from Australian with graduated Diploma-3 (D-3) in Indonesia is clearly disadvantage and unfair", said Anggraito Danangjoyo, an Indonesian student who studying psychology in University of Queensland. According to Antara News, this was an injustice form of Indonesian government against thousands of Indonesian students who studying in Australia. Interestingly, this news also republished (but in Indonesian language) in NEWS BULLETIN in the websites of Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Australia, with the title "PEMERINTAH RI TAK ADIL PADA SARJANA LULUSAN AUSTRALIA" (English: Indonesian government is unfair to the Australia's graduate / by mean: unfair to the Indonesian student who graduate in Australia). When I told this issue to some of my friends who got their Bachelor of Business in Australia, they were also startled and asked whether the quality of education in Australia worse than Indonesia?

Update: I noted some interesting readers reactions regarding to this post, namely:

1) From Rummuser, retired Management Professional from India, said:
"I am not qualified enough to comment on this without having more information. Jim perhaps will. What I do know is that there are a number of fly by night institutions in Australia that rip off unsuspecting overseas students by promising a lot, but not delivering. This is a matter of great concern here in India too. Many of our students go to Australia and return with qualifications that do not compare in quality to their literal equivalents in India."

2) From Bayu Dardias, as written on his profile is an Indonesian student who has completed Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (Grad.Dip Pub.Admin) from Australian National University and is pursuing Master of Public Policy (M.P.P) in there, said:
"In PPIA mailing list, this topic has been intensively discussed lately."

3) From Jim Belshaw, a manager and strategic consultant from Australia, within his posting titled Indonesian Government downgrades certain Australian degrees to diploma status, said:
"The issue appears to have been ignored by both the Australian media and local bloggers. I say this with a little caution since it is based on just my own reading/watching. I find this a little remarkable, given the importance of education as an export sector."
"I will watch the response to Tikno's post with interest. I may make the issue a central point in my next week's column in the Armidale Express."

4) From MiChi, a beautiful teacher from Malaysia, said:
"I agree with Rummuser... Even in Malaysia, this thing do happen. Therefore, I always encourage my students to go to Public Universities, which is a better guarantee... really have to be careful when choosing university."

For other related sources in English click here; in Indonesian language click here.


  1. I am not qualified enough to comment on this without having more information. Jim perhaps will. What I do know is that there are a number of fly by night institutions in Australia that rip off unsuspecting overseas students by promising a lot, but not delivering. This is a matter of great concern here in India too. Many of our students go to Australia and return with qualifications that do not compare in quality to their literal equivalents in India.

  2. Rummuser - Thank you for sharing the information that you know. This is interesting if Jim and Neil would like to respond.

  3. Well, I was also surprised to read this news Mas Tikno. This is not fair. But according to the rules, S1 in Indonesia must have been taking 148 credits, while in Australia is still less than that. And other regulations also require that graduates of S1 should have been a thesis(I mean skripsi), while in Australia did not.

    If there are no international guidelines on education in college, I think it should not have to be equalizing.

  4. Well, it is interesting posting Mas Tikno. in PPIA mailing list, this topic has been intensively discussed lately. What I know is that there are two undergraduate types. For those who had a satisfactory result (top 10%) can write a thesis as an HONOURS Student. Is this
    B.A (Hons) also considered as D3 as well?
    Those honours students can directly continue their study to Ph.D. How come D3 graduate can continue to Ph.D?
    Non-Honours student can go to Graduate Diploma (Grad.Dip)- a level between Undergrad and Master wit 24 credit/1 year- or directly to Masters (24 credit/ 1 year).
    As a matter of fact, many international students have to take Grad.Dip first before continuing to Master. In Indonesia, Grad.Dip is not recognized.

    But, the policy related to Indonesian degree recognition in Australia depends on the University policy.

    Well, on the one hand, some Australia Universities are not recognize Indonesian's "Sarjana" (because they have to study Grad.Dip before taking master), on the other hand Indonesian system is not recognizing Australian B.A.

  5. Hi Tikno, I will comment on this.

  6. Tikno, I have written a post on this that will come up tomorrow morning Australian time. My feeling is that this is actually a very important story likely to attract main-stream media attention.

    Is there any way to get English translations? It is very important to be sure of facts.

  7. When I studied at Sydney at 1996, I found out that the algebra which Indonesian students study at year 7, Australian students have already studied it at year 10. Indonesian students' burden to learn the subjects at school is much heavier than the Australians. That's why I can understand why our government equalizes the Australian bachelors to Indonesian diplomas.

  8. Visiting here tonight..God Bless!!

  9. Seno - I read the interesting responses from Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra (Indonesia academician who also became honorary professor at the University of Melbourne), in regards to the differences of the total number of semester credit units and writing a thesis, which it apparently be used as the basis for arguments to endorse this controversial policy.

    Please read it at:

    He said: "Please, Directorate General of Higher Education only provides the competency parameters for Strata Satu (S1). Whether have to have the thesis or not, that is the university affairs"

    And for the differences of study period, he said that is inappropriate to be questioned because the S-1 program (to get Sarjana/S-1 degree) in Indonesia also can be completed in three years.

    PS: How is the private course that you manage. Wish you more success.

    Bayu Dardias - Thank you for your explanation. As an Indonesian student who has completed Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (Grad.Dip Pub.Admin) from Australian National University, you comments are very helpful.

    Hopefully, you like to share more information in regard to these issue.

    Jim Belshaw - I really want to help you by translating these regulations into English. But then I realized that my English skills is not so good. I am afraid if there is misunderstanding happened because of my translation results. I've tried browsing to find similar topic in English on another site but I do not find it. I don't know why the big/famous media on both side, not yet publish this issue soon.

    Perhaps, comments from Bayu Dardias (an Indonesian student who also study in Australian National University) and also my response to him and Seno, will help.

    Vicky Laurentina - I think it's not the cause.

    Vicy - Thank you.

  10. Thanks, Tikno. Thinking about it later, translation was a big ask. However, you may be able to answer one question. Are the rankings something new or changed?

  11. I agree with Rummuser... Even in Malaysia, this thing do happen. Therefore, I always encourage my students to go to Public Universities, which is a better guarantee... really have to be careful when choosing university

  12. Jim Belshaw - Since I graduated from university in Indonesia and is not directly involved in the educational field, so I could not make sure whether this rankings is something new or changed from previous one.

    But all that I know this controversial policy is new, based on the date when these regulation issued by Directorate General of Higher Education, that is 01 July 2009.

    MiChi - Hello beautiful teacher from Malaysia. First of all, Happy Birthday to you!
    I feel what Rummuser said also has its point.

  13. I hope Dinda may reconsider its policy. I agree with you, each university has its own policies.

  14. i think there should be a set standard for education it is unfair to many when someone gets qualifications he does not deserve in a world where everything is rated by figures

  15. Well, Tikno, First of all, sorry for not reading the attachment documents through last time. I am not qualified enough to translate these documents, not a matter of capability but certification. I am not legally able to translate official documents which should be translated by certified person that can be found in any cities in Australia.
    Second, I cannot find the legal document that directly say that undergraduate in Australia are equivalent to D3 in Indonesia.
    Third, the documents are discussed procedures of translation foreign degree into Indonesian. The result of the translation depends on the evaluation team case by case.
    I am wondering where the media got the information that undergrad is generally equivalent to D3 (which should be depends on the result of evaluation team)?

  16. Seno - Each country have its own policy. That's the problem.

    Prophet666 - A good idea to set a standard.

    Bayu Dardias - Yes, the document is not directly say that all undergraduate in Australia are equivalent to D-3 in Indonesia.
    But that rule is mentioning an attachments containing the latest guidelines (update 30 June 2009) for certificate equivalency, which it seems a few point has changed. If not, why this issue emerge again lately.

  17. Bayu Dardias - and according to the rules of national education minister, number 26 Year 2009, dated 3 June 2009, in Article 1, Section (4), stated that the list is renewed every year with the decision of the Director General of Higher Education.

    You may download it here:

  18. Good morning Tikno. I have written the Express column I mentioned. It is written from a local perspective but is, I think, an objective commentary. The column will appear in the paper next Wednesday. It is not included in the paper's on-line edition, so I will post a copy once it appears and then link back.

    I thought that the comments on your post were really very good. Re-reading them this morning, I found that they fleshed out elements that I had not noticed on my first quick read. My thanks to all.

    Isn't blogging wonderful?

  19. Jim Belshaw - Hopefully you write it objectively for both sides. I really look further on your post (a copy from non-online column).

    Thank you very much. Like you said, blogging is wonderful.

  20. if the aussie uni is of non-high reputation / standard, the indon govt's step is correct. no point getting a degree on paper but u get no quality education after spending tons of money on it

    in this case, students or their parents shld be wary of which uni to apply for in future

  21. here in malaysia.. those with better results from high school take degree... those without not-so-good results take diploma..

    it's like to separate who's good and not-so-good..

    cant comment much as i dont have sufficient information about this topic.. =)

  22. Johnny Ong - Good advice for student's parents.

    Kenwooi - Whether that is the official rule that applied in Malaysia?

  23. Guys,
    The fact shows that companies (private & state owned) seemed to regard their quality similar to our S1.

  24. H. Nizam - If so, how do you think about this problems ?

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. Sophie, thank you. Unfortunately the link given by you can not be accessed.

  27. Great Post !

    Thanks for sharing this information with us. It is very useful & helpful for us also.

    Mack - Student of Toronto college

  28. Mack, welcome from Canada.

  29. Very useful post, indeed !


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