The children

The early years

The school years

Adolescents and youth


The school years

© UNICEF Indonesia_050906

Primary education

There has been significant progress in Indonesia towards achieving universal primary - or basic - education. Primary school enrolment rates reached 97 per cent in 2009, and currently some 26 million children attend primary schools.

There are few differences between enrolment rates of girls and boys at primary level, and overall little difference between urban and rural areas. However the gap between the worst performing province - Papua - and the best - Aceh - is some 15 per cent.

Most children do complete primary education - latest official data shows that 'drop-out'rates during the first six years of education have fallen to under 2 per cent.

Quality of learning remains cause for concern, with one in ten children having to repeat their first year of primary study to attain the required standards, and 6 per cent repeating their second year. Just 55 per cent of primary school teachers hold the minimum qualifications required by the government.

Beyond primary education

A significant number of children stop their education after completing primary level. One-third of children who should be in classes at junior secondary level are not enrolled.

More positively, the gap in attendance between rural and urban areas - which was 20 per cent ten years ago - has reduced to just 4 per cent. More girls than boys also attend junior secondary school.

Drop-out trends continue into senior secondary school; again, more than a third of children who complete the junior level fail to continue into the final years of their education.


Children out of school

According to the 2010 national census, some 3.5 million children were not attending primary or junior secondary school.

An estimated 2.7 million Indonesian children are involved in some form of child labour - roughly half of these are under the age of 13. While most working children do manage to participate in some form of schooling, time spent engaged in education is limited and impacts on their ability to reach their full potential. There is also a clear link between children being out of school as a result of a need to work - two-thirds of children who are out of school are involved in work, either paid employment or at home. 

Working children are exposed to significant risks; almost half of children aged between 5 and 14 found to be in work are exposed to at least one of 14 serious hazards, ranging from working with dangerous objects to unhealthy working environments.




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