Expats in Jakarta have a wide variety of schooling options available. While public schools are not a popular choice among expat families, the city boasts an impressive array of international schools. These cater to expat students from a number of countries, including the UK, the US, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and Singapore. Many international schools also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme.
Public schools in Jakarta
Public schools in Jakarta are administered by the local government and follow the Indonesian curriculum. The teaching language at these schools is Indonesian.
Due to the poor standard of education at local public schools, as well as the language barrier, expats moving to the city with children generally send them to one of the many excellent international schools instead.
Private schools in Jakarta
Private schools in Indonesia usually offer an international curriculum in combination with the local Indonesian curriculum, and classes are generally in English rather than Indonesian. The International Baccalaureate is commonly taught in these schools.
While the majority of students at private schools are Indonesian, some expat parents choose to send their children to these schools due to the lower fees compared to international schools and the opportunity for more cultural integration for their children.
International schools in Jakarta
Though international schools can often be expensive, they usually offer a good standard of education, and also have the advantage of allowing children to continue with a familiar and internationally recognised curriculum.
In a bid to regulate the quality of education in Indonesia, the government no longer permits schools to use the word 'international' in their title. Prior to this regulation, low-quality schools would often tack "international" on their names as a justification to charge high fees. Most international schools are now classified as Satuan Pendidikan Kerjasama (SPK) – this roughly translates as collaborative schools. SPK schools are required to teach Indonesian civics, religion and language. In addition, they must allow Indonesian students to attend and must employ local teachers to teach Indonesian subjects.
Special-needs education in Jakarta
As is the case throughout Indonesia, Jakarta has two types of public schools that cater to special-needs students: inclusive schools and extraordinary schools. Inclusive schools have a student body made up of both special needs and mainstream students, while extraordinary schools are dedicated to special-needs students. Most expat families don't find these to be suitable and instead opt for private schooling. It's worth noting that many international schools are able to provide the specialised services such a student would require. This is usually for an extra fee but can be a good option for expat families.
Tutors in Jakarta
Tutors are widely used in Indonesia. For expat families, tutors can be a great help in giving expat children a leg up in adjusting to a new school, especially if an unfamiliar curriculum or language unfamiliar is involved. Some expat families hire a tutor to help maintain a child's mother tongue, or to help them learn and refine Indonesian or English quickly.
The months leading up to final exams are a busy time for tutors, who are often hired to help students reach peak performance. Most tutors specialise in a particular subject but some are able to help across the board, especially when it comes to teaching general essay writing and study techniques.
►For an extended overview of Indonesia's education system, see Education and Schools in Indonesia
Are you an expat living in Jakarta?
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