Establishing Foreign Higher Education Institutions in Indonesia
The government has granted authority for foreign higher education institutions (FHEIs) to establish a physical campus in Indonesia as first stipulated in the Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education Regulation (MRTHE) No. 53/2018. Given the poor quality of the local higher education institutions (HEI), which is attributed to several factors such as the low quality of teaching, research and human resources, limited funding, and poor governance, the arrival of FHEIs in Indonesia provides an opportunity for Indonesian students to acquire a world-class education at home, which would otherwise not be provided. The MRTHE regulation No. 53/2018 required all FHEIs to form a partnership with a local HEI in academia, research, and innovation. However, this regulation does not apply to FHEIs established in Indonesia’s Special Economic Zone as stipulated in the MOEC Regulation No. 10/202. As these partnerships could potentially be difficult to initiate without a regulating provision, there is space for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (MOECRT) to take on a leading role in facilitating these partnerships. FHEIs may play an important role in encouraging local universities to increase their quality and become strategic partners to help increase the quality of Indonesian HEIs as well as improve the local economic development. The partnership between Monash University Indonesia and Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa reflects such a case through the organization of various joint activities from research to student and academic mobility programs, and Monash University’s commitment to develop Banten’s local talent and potential. In order to fully utilize the presence of FHEIs in Indonesia, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (MOECRT) needs to facilitate productive engagements between FHEIs and Indonesian HEIs. This facilitation is important to foster knowledge and technology transfer and help nurture the research ecosystem in Indonesia through various and mutually beneficial arrangements between both parties. At the same time, this requires MOECRT to pay special attention to improving the capacity of local university’s human resources and ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills to meaningfully collaborate with FHEI. The MOECRT should also incorporate the FHEIs in Indonesian higher education programs such as including them as a postgraduate scholarship destination and mobility programs to expose other Indonesian students and academics to world-class quality education.