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 99 per cent in 2015, and currently some 27 million children attend primary schools.

Most children do complete primary education. The latest official data shows that 'drop-out' rates during the first six years of education have fallen to under 1 per cent.

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 province at the lower end - Papua - and the best performing province - Aceh - is some 15 percentage points.

Quality of learning remains a cause for concern as it leads to high repetition rates. One in 10 children have to repeat their first year of primary education to attain the required standards, and 5 per cent repeat their second year. Although the situation has improved in recent years, only 81 per cent of primary school teachers hold the minimum qualifications required by the government.

Beyond primary education

Indonesia introduced 12 years of universal education in 2016, aiming to provide equal access to education for all adolescents between 16 and 18 years of age. The programme replaces the previous nine-year compulsory education launched in 1994 but is not yet fully implemented.

Despite this, a significant number of children stop their education after completing primary school. One in 10 children who should be in classes at junior secondary level are not enrolled.

More positively, the gap in attendance in junior secondary school between rural and urban areas - which was 7 per cent five years ago - has been reduced to just 3 per cent. More girls than boys attend junior secondary school.

Drop-out rates increase further towards senior secondary school; again, almost one in five children who complete the junior level do not continue into the final years of their education.

Children out of school

According to the 2016 National Socio-Economic Survey, around 1 million children between the ages of seven to 15 years were not attending primary or junior secondary school. Another 3.6 million adolescents aged 16 to 18 are also out of 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, the time they spend for their education is limited which impacts on their ability to reach their full potential.

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



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