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Today the Jakarta Post published an article titled Under New School Regulation, Quality to Drop Along With the ‘International’ and there was also a bit of chatter about it on forums, such as the Living in Indonesia Expat Forum here, New School Regulation begins today Dec 1st 2014. Neither was 100% accurate, for instance the Jakarta Globe incorrectly reports that all Indonesian students will have to study Islam, but actually the juknis related to the Education decree actually says that all students will have to study their religion, of which there are now 6 recognised by the Indonesian government, not just Islam.

But neither article was wholly wrong either. Parents and schools have every right to be concerned about many aspects within these newly passed regulations. The rather silly ban on the word International for all schools in Indonesia is just one example. (BTW – I do not know of any other country in the world that has done this, so either Indonesian Education is breaking new ground in Academic excellence or… not.

The thrust of regulations appear to be pandering to a nationalistic protectionist of national education, but also, if I may speculate, a misunderstanding of what International Education and International Mindedness really mean. The new laws aim to separate Indonesians citizens from learning together with other citizens, the idea that a Korean School tied to an embassy should only be allowed to school Korean students, and that all Indonesian students must learn Indonesian curriculum and pass the widely discredited UN exams at Grade 6, Grade 9 and Grade 12. (while at the same time trying to study for and pass the ‘international programmes, if that is their choice). In fact, I can tell you a colleague of mine, when questioning this aspect of the regulations and how they might relate to a half Indonesian and half Australian (or any other nationality) was interrupted by an official and abruptly told, “The kids should decide if they want to be Indonesian or expat; they cannot be both!”

There’s some other discriminatory and backwards regulations such as all Expat teachers requiring an AIDS test, as if that has anything to do with the quality of their teaching.