The purpose of this paper is to examine key challenges to effective regionalism for Indonesian higher education (HE), including charting its international engagement in regional HE networks and associations, and links to China and the Islamic world.
Based on empirical and documentary analysis, the article examines key challenges to effective regionalism for Indonesian HE.
As a leading stakeholder within ASEAN, Indonesia could be expected to play a major role in such regional networks as ASEAN Universities Network (AUN) as well as APRU, SEAMEO RIHED, and the like. Yet, even relative to some of its regional neighbours, (Singapore, Malaysia, and the somewhat anomalous Australia and New Zealand), the Indonesian HE system is peripheral, with a relatively minor presence in the international knowledge system.
The world's most populous Muslim‐majority nation, and a rising regional power, including within ASEAN, nonetheless Indonesia confronts key challenges in its HE system, both national and international. The rising demand for HE cannot be filled by public sector HEIs alone, while the proliferation of private sector HEIs, some unaccredited, poses significant issues for quality control and governance. Adding to this are external challenges, including the monitoring of international programmes and partnerships. Financing of HE is a further significant constraint, while corruption is also a major influence in Indonesian society, including in HE (thus further raising the governance stakes).
The two examples cited – of Islamic higher education, and of China‐Indonesia relations – each demonstrate the extent, and the limits, of regionalism in Indonesian HE.
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