Education and youth


Priority Issues

UNICEF in Action



© UNICEF Indonesia/2016/ Radit


Indonesia has a high overall youth literacy rate of 99 per cent and has made tremendous progress in ensuring 99 per cent of children aged between 7 and 12 years old are attending primary or junior secondary school. However, still many children do not transition from primary to secondary school, particularly children from poor families and rural areas.

Junior secondary aged children in rural areas are 1.5 times as likely not to attend school compared to those in urban areas. Meanwhile, children from the poorest households are four times more likely to be out of school than those in the richest.

In total, approximately 4.5 million Indonesian children who should be in school are not. That’s 270,000 children of primary school age (7-12 years), 750,000 of junior secondary school age (13-15 years), and 3.5 million of senior secondary school age (16-18 years). Meanwhile, 67 per cent of school aged children with disabilities are out of school.

Learning outcomes among Indonesian children require substantial improvement to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) in education adopted by the Government. More than half (55%) of 15-year-old students are “low achievers” in reading. In mathematics, it is more than two-thirds (69%). Similarly, at primary level, many children struggle to acquire even the most basic academic skills with only 50 per cent of 4th Grade students meeting low international benchmarks in mathematics and science.

Inadequate understanding of the value of early childhood development, by families, society, and among planners means that 30 per cent of Indonesian children aged 3 to 6 years do not benefit from early childhood education.

Additionally, in rural and remote parts of Indonesia, early childhood development services are either absent, inaccessible or unaffordable to most children, meaning they miss out on valuable early learning and development opportunities that their urban counterparts receive.

Compounding these barriers to access, teachers in marginalized areas have inadequate training on holistic approaches to early childhood development that integrate health, nutrition, safety and psycho-social stimulation. 

An estimated 37 per cent of children under the age of 5 are stunted due to nutritional and WASH deficiencies which further affects their educational development.

Indonesia is situated in one of the world’s most active disaster hotspots and is at high risk of a variety of natural hazards, including earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, flood, landslide, drought and forest fires. Of 34 provinces in Indonesia, 30 are in high risk and four are in medium risk zones. Most disasters affect schools. During the period of 2014-2016, major disasters affected more than 31,000 schools in Indonesia.





Rural and Remote Education Initiative for Papuan Provinces


 Email this article

Donate Now

unite for children