Written By:
Dr. Abdul Rahman Alkhomsi

INTRODUCTION

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and although it is a middle income country, it ranked at 110 in the Human Development Index in 2014.[1]  Indonesia’s relationships with neighboring countries are also shifting, as the planned (and realized) inauguration of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 introduced the potential for increased competition across the region’s labor markets and its higher education systems.  To ensure the future prosperity of the Indonesian people amid these changes, the Government of Indonesia has set ambitious medium- and long-term goals in support of national and human development, and the education sector is a key contributor to those efforts.  Enrollment in higher education has more than doubled from 2002 to 2014.[2]  This surge in enrollment, commonly referred to as massification of higher education, has introduced new pressures on institutions to provide high-quality education to a larger and (in many cases) a more diverse student population, while at the same time upgrading the skills of its teaching staff and improving facilities and research programs to compete as world class universities.

In support of these efforts, the USAID/HELM project was awarded to Chemonics International on November 28, 2011. Chemonics implements HELM with support from partners: the Indiana University Alliance; JBS International Inc.; and the University of Kentucky (UKY). The five year project was designed to support Indonesia’s higher education sector in increasing its quality and relevance through improved focus on administration and management capacity. In partnership with the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI), HELM provides technical assistance, training, and additional support to strengthen leadership capacity and increase effectiveness in the following four core management areas:

  1. General Administration and Leadership (GAL)
  2. Financial Management (FM)
  3. Quality Assurance (QA)
  4. Collaboration with External Stakeholders (CES)

HELM works in close collaboration with RISTEKDIKTI and partners with 50 Indonesian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The project is designed to address the USAID Education sub-intermediate result, “increased management capacity of Indonesian Higher Education Institutions” which contributes to the intermediate result “improved quality of higher education” under the over-arching assistance objective: “students better prepared for success in learning and work.”

Purpose of Study

The case study investigates and documents key ways the USAID HELM project has supported reforms in quality assurance among Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Indonesia since the adoption of the Law on Higher Education (Law No. 12/2012). It also assesses the results of HELM-supported HEIs in the context of quality assurance reform in higher education in Indonesia.  The study consolidates best practices and lessons learned from selected HEIs on the implementation of continuing institutional performance improvements in their QA systems, which will hopefully assist them in their next round of iterative improvements.  It is also meant to provide guidance to other institutions seeking to strengthen their QA teams and processes.

The case study seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. What major issues in quality assurance are HEIs in Indonesia facing after the 2012 Reform Act? How do these compare to other regional quality assurance         systems?
  2. Have activities supported by HELM made a difference?
  3. What are examples of activities, methods or changes that have improved QA at HELM partner HEIs?
  4. What systemic changes did HELM promote or did the HEIs undergo to make a change?

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