dafluff

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One of the most important considerations in deciding whether to make the leap of moving to Indonesia is the schooling options for our children. Parents moving children from abroad are naturally apprehensive about putting their kids in a completely different environment. There are many schooling options available, beyond the simple private/public distinction that most people may be accustomed to. Below is an overview of the commonly available educational options, along with pros and cons.

International Schools

Although since 2015 the Ministry of Education no longer allows the word "International" to be used in a school's name, due to concerns over misuse of the term, many schools are still colloquially referred to as international schools. They typically use an IB or Cambridge curriculum, with allowance for some Indonesian topics, such as Bahasa Indonesia, and local cultural content. They follow a typical 5-day school week, usually from about 8 am to 3 pm. The language of instruction is usually English. The pupils hail from many parts of the world, including Indonesia. The teaching staff is usually mostly expat, although Indonesian teachers are also employed. Fees are high, ranging from USD 2,500-25,000 per year, depending on the school and grade level. There are also initial enrollment charges which could also be in the USD 2,500 to 5,000 range, and recurring costs usually labelled as administration fees, facility fees, IT fees and similar. Facilities are typically excellent, including computing facilities, libraries, musical instruments, sporting facilities etc., allowing students a wide range of curricular activities.

Pros: International curriculum, English as instructional language, multi-cultural student body, world class facilities.
Cons: Expensive.

National Plus Schools

These schools follow the Indonesian national curriculum, and add components from an international curriculum, additional instructions in English, and/or additional extracurricular activities. If you think this is confusing, you are not mistaken. Althoughan accreditation body exists, the Association of National and Private Schools (ANPS - http://anps-bi.org/), there are no government-enforced standards. Thus quality of National Plus schools varies widely, from a school similar in quality to the best "international" schools, to a school that has perhaps one expat teacher teaching all the English classes. Still, the better National Plus schools are very good, and are often a bargain compared to a full fledged "international" school. National Plus schools are also often affiliated with a religious denomination. Pupils are mostly Indonesian, but with a lot of expat and mixed-marriage kids as well. Thus the student body is quite multi-cultural.

Pros: Possible to get good education at a lower price than International school, multi-cultural student body, good facilities.
Cons: Careful research is required to determine the quality of the schools you are considering.

National Schools

These are schools that follow the Indonesian curriculum. They are split into Sekolah Dasar (SD – Grades 1-6), Sekolah Menengah Pertama (SMP – Grades 7-9) and Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA – Grades 10-12). There are public and private schools. Public schools are often simply numbered by city (such as SMA Negeri 1 – Denpasar), while private schools have proper names. Indonesian schools usually follow a 6-day school week, with Friday being a half day, and the rest of the time school runs from about 7am to 1pm. The Indonesian curriculum requires religious education in one of the six sanctioned state religions, although in rural areas where there aren't many adherents outside the main religion, it is possible that only one religion is taught. Private National Schools are typically affiliated with a religious denomination, most prominently Catholic schools. Prior to the rise of international and National Plus schools, the Indonesian elite would send their kids to Catholic Schools regardless of their own religion, due to the quality of education. However, outside the very highest rated national schools, the quality of education is often mediocre, and facilities sorely lacking. It is not uncommon for teachers to be absent and classes dismissed early. Rules are often strict, and a lot of time is often spent on activities such as flag raising ceremonies. While national schools are a viable option for expats wishing to immerse their children in the Indonesian experience, and for mixed-marriage families, careful research is recommended before choosing a school. On the flip side, tuition ranges from practically free to about $400/year.

Pros: Adequate education, for a very low price. Total Indonesian immersion.
Cons: Rigid national curriculum, facilities often lacking, careful research is strongly recommended before choosing a school. School day that starts at 7am.

Islamic Schools

Recently gaining popularity, Islamic schools are now available in every major city. They are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Religion (not Education), so it is immediately clear where the priorities are. Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI), Madrasah Tsanawiyah (MT) and Madrasah Aliyah (MA), are the equivalents of SD, SMP and SMA, respectively. Similar to National Schools in secular education, these schools add strong emphasis on Islamic Studies and Arabic. Student attire follows Islamic religious requirements, as do all other curricular activities. Cautions that apply to National Schools also apply to Islamic Schools, namely lack of facilities, rigid curriculum, and so on.

Pros: Adequate education, low price. Islamic content for those who desire it.
Cons: Rigid curriculum, facilities often lacking, careful research is strongly recommended before choosing a school.


Corrections/questions/comments? Please post below!
 
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dafluff

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General Tips for choosing schools:


  1. Visit the school. This goes without saying, but it is being said anyway. The school should be happy to have a parent visit the school, and should be prepared to have a representative answer questions and give a tour of the school.
  2. Location: Children (and ideally parents) should not have to travel more than 1 hour to school everyday. Compromise between school distance and quality may have to be made.
  3. Ask to see the curriculum or have it explained. Check for accreditation.
  4. Check out the school grounds: are the facilities available as described? Does it look well maintained?
  5. Are children's work prominently displayed? Or is it just posters from the bookstore? Does it look like only the best kids' work is displayed?
  6. Peek into classrooms: Are all classes supervised by a teacher? Or are there many kids milling about doing nothing? How engaged are the teachers? The students?
  7. Get reference from a parent. If you don't know anyone, ask in our forum.
 
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William King

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General Tips for choosing schools:


  1. Visit the school. This goes without saying, but it is being said anyway. The school should be happy to have a parent visit the school, and should be prepared to have a representative answer questions and give a tour of the school.
  2. Ask to see the curriculum or have it explained. Check for accreditation.
  3. Check out the school grounds: are the facilities available as described? Does it look well maintained?
  4. Are children's work prominently displayed? Or is it just posters from the bookstore? Does it look like only the best kids' work is displayed?
  5. Peek into classrooms: Are all classes supervised by a teacher? Or are there many kids milling about doing nothing? How engaged are the teachers? The students?
  6. Get reference from a parent. If you don't know anyone, ask at our forum!

Location.

Children should not be travelling more then an hour each way to school. Young children even less, the best school very far away is less suitable than a medium school close by.
 

dafluff

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Location.

Children should not be travelling more then an hour each way to school. Young children even less, the best school very far away is less suitable than a medium school close by.

Absolutely! How could I have forgotten. I'm big fan of not driving my kids more than 30 minutes every day!
 

Puspawarna

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Are foreign children permitted to attend national schools?
 

sumyunggai

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There should be some explanation of school starting age. 'Grade 1' is not a universal term.

Some missing school types:

SMK
MAK

PAUD
KB
TPA/TPQ
TK
RA
 

R Cameron

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Is there a typical naming scheme for National Plus Schools? In my casual observance I've noticed the others, but not the National Plus type.
 

dafluff

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There should be some explanation of school starting age. 'Grade 1' is not a universal term.

Some missing school types:

SMK
MAK

PAUD
KB
TPA/TPQ
TK
RA

Fair point. Will update when I get a chance.


Is there a typical naming scheme for National Plus Schools? In my casual observance I've noticed the others, but not the National Plus type.

Not really. You can name them anything apparently.
 

atlantis

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PAUD
KB
TPA/TPQ
TK
RA
KB (Kelompok Bermain) are the equivalent of playgroup in the western world while TK (taman kanak-kanak) and RA (Raudatul athfal) are formal schools being the equivalent of kindergarten. RA are under the direction of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and therefore with a focus on Islamic teachings. TK are under the direction of the Ministry of Education (which doesn't mean that religion won't be taught). Neither KB, TK or RA are mandatory for kids in Indonesia but many private primary school may make it a requirement to accept your kid.

All the above are part of what we call Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini (PAUD) in Bahasa Indonesia and early childhood education in English, for kids up to the age of 8 (the two first year of SD are considered part of PAUD.
PAUD is not a school type as per post #7 may perhaps lead to think.

Non formal islamic education where the kids can learn to read Al Qur'an is obviously available in Indonesia. They are proposed by the Taman Kanak-Kanak AL Qur’an (TKA/TKQ) and the TPA/TPQ (Taman Pendidikan Al Qur’an) which teach to kids from a very early age to SD.

For kids of other faith than Islam, formal and non formal religious schools at all level of education exist.

Katolik and Protestant school are easy to locate and are always called SD/SMP/SMA Katolik or SD/SMP/SMA Kristen. They accept kids of any faith and usually have a fair reputation when it comes to the quality of education. For anyone coming from the West, the form of "discipline" taught may be a tad too harsh though.

If you are of Hindu faith, you should look for a Pasraman or a Sekolah Pesantian. There are obviously several in Bali but at least two others outside, notably in Bogor and Batam.

Non formal Buddhist education is taight by what we call Pabbajja Samanera or sometimes also called Sekolah Minggu Buddha. Any Vihara, or Kelenteng should be able to give you the right information, contacts and necessary details. Formal buddhist education is also available and one should look at SD/SMP/SMA Widia Darma for it, with "Widya Darma" signaling that predominantly Buddhist education is taught (though kids of other faith are accepted).

I know that Confucianism (Khonghucu in Bahasa Indonesia) formal and non formal education is available and found in schools that we call shuyuan (spelling?) but I know none of them unfortunately.
 

sumyunggai

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KB (Kelompok Bermain) are the equivalent of playgroup in the western world while TK (taman kanak-kanak) and RA (Raudatul athfal) are formal schools being the equivalent of kindergarten. RA are under the direction of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and therefore with a focus on Islamic teachings. TK are under the direction of the Ministry of Education (which doesn't mean that religion won't be taught). Neither KB, TK or RA are mandatory for kids in Indonesia but many private primary school may make it a requirement to accept your kid.

All the above are part of what we call Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini (PAUD) in Bahasa Indonesia and early childhood education in English, for kids up to the age of 8 (the two first year of SD are considered part of PAUD.
PAUD is not a school type as per post #7 may perhaps lead to think.

PAUD is actually more commonly (although this may vary regionally) used to refer to a Kelompok Bermain (playgroup).

Thus although PAUD means 'early year education' in general, if you say 'anak saya mau masuk PAUD', you mean they are going to playgroup (KB). If your child was to go to kindergarten, you would not say PAUD, but 'TK', even though TK is also technically a form of PAUD.

Examples:

http://referensi.data.kemdikbud.go.id/index21.php?kode=286302&level=3

The providers names are headed 'Nama satuan PAUD' - name of the early years provider.

However, there are also many schools there explicitly called 'PAUD'. These 'PAUD' are typically registered as 'KB'.

Some schools with the name 'PAUD' may be registered as 'Satuan PAUD Sejenis' (SPS).

Schools that are registered TK are never known as 'PAUD Xyz', but 'TK Kyz'.

My understanding is that the government's PAUD (early years education) programme encouraged private individuals to open up low-quality education to claim government cash. These schools were hence referred to as 'PAUD', even though the form of education they were offering was actually a playgroup (KB).

Since TK is more formal, it's easier to cash-in with a KB.
 

atlantis

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PAUD is actually more commonly (although this may vary regionally) used to refer to a Kelompok Bermain (playgroup).

Thus although PAUD means 'early year education' in general, if you say 'anak saya mau masuk PAUD', you mean they are going to playgroup (KB). If your child was to go to kindergarten, you would not say PAUD, but 'TK', even though TK is also technically a form of PAUD.

Examples:

http://referensi.data.kemdikbud.go.id/index21.php?kode=286302&level=3

The providers names are headed 'Nama satuan PAUD' - name of the early years provider.

However, there are also many schools there explicitly called 'PAUD'. These 'PAUD' are typically registered as 'KB'.

Some schools with the name 'PAUD' may be registered as 'Satuan PAUD Sejenis' (SPS).

Schools that are registered TK are never known as 'PAUD Xyz', but 'TK Kyz'.

My understanding is that the government's PAUD (early years education) programme encouraged private individuals to open up low-quality education to claim government cash. These schools were hence referred to as 'PAUD', even though the form of education they were offering was actually a playgroup (KB).

Since TK is more formal, it's easier to cash-in with a KB.
PAUD as you mentionned means "early childhood education". There is no "regional variation of its definition" but only one legal definition, valid nationwide and which is given in art 1 UU 20 tahun 2003 tentang sistem pendidikan nasional as follow:

Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini adalah suatu upaya pembinaan yang ditujukan kepada anak sejak lahir sampaidengan usia enam tahun yang dilakukan melalui pemberian rangsangan pendidikan untuk membantupertumbuhan dan perkembangan jasmani dan rohani agar anak memiliki kesiapan dalam memasuki pendidikanlebih lanjut.

A translation would be "Early childhood education (PAUD) means educational efforts since birth to six years of age by giving stimulus for children’s physical and emotional growth and development in order to prepare them to further education.

It obviously includes not only KB but also TK. Both form what the PAUD is. The difference being that, in the frame of PAUD, beside catering for kids of a different age, TK (And RA) are the formal education while KB is the non formal education.

I don't know if people in your region are used to refer to the KB only as being part of PAUD, but if they are, they are wrong. Calling a KB "PAUD" only without mentioning KB, even if it may be commonly in use is misleading. I prefer to use the term as it is legally defined and to give the correct legal information anytime I can. I call a KB, a KB and a TK, a TK as it should and as it is described in the relevant law. Likewise when I mention the PAUD, I say that both KB, TK and RA form it, as it is defined in the Law.

Again likewise, I don't talk about a "Visa KITAS", as I have often read, when I mention an immigration document but a VITAS, an ITAS or a KITAS depending if I want to talk about a visa, a permit or a resident card.

PAUD is further defined in article 28 UU 20/2003:

Bagian Ketujuh
Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini (PAUD)
Pasal 28​

(1) Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini diselenggarakan sebelum jenjang pendidikan dasar.
(2) Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini dapat diselenggarakan melalui jalur pendidikan formal, nonformal, dan/atau informal.
(3) Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini pada jalur pendidikan formal berbentuk Taman Kanak-kanak (TK), Raudatul Athfal (RA), atau bentuk lain yang sederajat.
(4) Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini pada jalur pendidikan nonformal berbentuk Kelompok Bermain (KB), Taman Penitipan Anak (TPA), atau bentuk lain yang sederajat.
(5) Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini pada jalur pendidikan informal berbentuk pendidikan keluarga atau pendidikan yang diselenggarakan oleh lingkungan.

If you aren't fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, ayat (3) means "Early Childhood Education (PAUD) provided through formal education may take the form of Taman Kanak-Kanak (Kindergarten/TK), Raudatul Athfal (RA), or other forms of formal education of similar type.

Ayat (4) would be translated by "Early Childhood Education (PAUD) provided through non-formal education may take the form of Kelompok Bermain (Play groups/KB), taman penitipan anak (Child care centers/TPA ). or other forms of non-formal education of similar type.
 
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sumyunggai

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I am not sure that we can so easily define people's language as right or wrong, since language is not purely a matter of legal definitions. It is in any case correct to call a KB a PAUD, legally. I suspect such usage is rather widespread. And of course it is helpful to understand if we pass 'PAUD Mangga' in our neighbourhood that it is in all likelihood a private playgroup.

It is not really comparable to matters of immigration which is properly in any case more legalistic.

Here's some typical language usage, in a newspaper, where Paud is distinguished from TK:

http://jabar.tribunnews.com/2016/11...paud-angkasa-gembira-melihat-pesawat-hercules

[Mereka] "mengajak anak-anak TK Angkasa I dan III serta Paud Angkasa untuk mengenal dunia kedirgantaraan "

"Terlihat kegembiraan dan kebanggaan terpancar dari wajah anak-anak TK dan Paud itu"
 
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