The second annual meeting of the Education Working Group under the Joint Commission reaffirmed that close cooperation in education is a fundamental element of the U.S. Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership. As the world’s second and third largest democracies, the two governments’ commitment to education and generating global knowledge to address common challenges is crucial in promoting economic and social progress, and peace and security in the two nations and around the world. In 2010, President Obama and President Yudhoyono announced a Higher Education Partnership in which the United States committed more than $165 million over five years to support increased academic exchange, with a goal of doubling the number of students moving in each direction, and strengthened university collaboration, to build capacity for providing a high quality education. To further engage the higher education and private sectors in both countries, it was announced today that U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan will host a U.S.-Indonesia Higher Education Summit October 31st in Washington, D.C.
The United States has increased its funding for the binational Fulbright Program to $8.5 million per year, making it one of the largest Fulbright programs in the world. Under Fulbright, the U.S. government has committed $15 million for a new five year Fulbright Indonesia Research, Science, and Technology Program – or FIRST Program - to support American and Indonesian students and scholars to study, teach, and conduct research in priority science and technology fields. The second cohort will begin their studies this fall. The U.S. government is also working with the Indonesian government to pilot a new faculty “recharging” program that will enhance Indonesian faculty skills, and today announced a new project to assist with English language study for Indonesian faculty who have been selected for Indonesian government scholarships.
Community College Initiative
The Department of State has significantly scaled up its Community College Initiative Program with Indonesia, providing $2.5 million this year to support 50 Indonesian students from underserved sectors for one-year of specialized non-degree certificate study at U.S. community colleges in fields key to Indonesian national development. This fall, for the first time, the Department of State will bring approximately 20 Indonesian faculty and administrators from Indonesian technical and vocational training institutions for one-year professional development programs at U.S. community colleges to strengthen their skills and enhance their connections with their U.S. counterparts.
The Department of State is supporting 25 American undergraduate and graduate students each year to study Bahasa Indonesian in intensive summer institutes in Malang under its Critical Language Scholarship Program. The Department of State has made Gilman Scholarship recipients, who are undergraduate Americans participating in study abroad, eligible for Critical Language Supplemental Scholarships to support enhanced Bahasa Indonesian language learning. State is supporting a two-year project to increase the local capacity of Indonesian institutions to host Americans in Indonesia. And the Department of State is coordinating with the Indonesian government to expand U.S. student participation in the Indonesian government-supported Darmasiswa scholarships for study in Indonesia.
English Language Programs
The State Department is doubling the number of new English Access Microscholarships we award to nearly 400 each year to bright, disadvantaged 14-18 year old Indonesian students for two years of quality after-school English language instruction. It is also doubling the number of E-Teacher Scholarships awarded for online university level professional development courses for Indonesian teachers, and is supporting the largest English Language Fellow Program in the world in Indonesia. Fellows are U.S. educators with expertise in English teaching who are placed overseas for an academic year to carry out projects to enhance local English teaching capacity. The Peace Corps is increasing its support for English teaching, and by 2012 will have nearly tripled the number of Volunteers serving in Indonesian schools since Peace Corps returned to Indonesia in 2010.
University Partnerships and Capacity Building
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting U.S. and Indonesian higher education institutions to collaborate to improve the quality of teaching and research and to contribute to developing the capacity of Indonesian institutions in critical fields of mutual interest. USAID announced today three new university partnerships of the 25 it plans to award over five years. USAID also announced last week that it is partnering with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide 20 or more grants to Indonesian scientists working with U.S. researchers through the new Partners for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Project. In addition, USAID’s Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy program will help the Indonesian Ministry of Education introduce quality assurance systems and enhance the efficiency of the use of resources.
EducationUSA advising provides Indonesian students with accurate, objective, and comprehensive information about opportunities for study in the United States, including financial aid. The Department of State is upgrading the EducationUSA website, expanding and distributing educational marketing materials in Bahasa Indonesia, developing a mobile advising function to provide services to underserved and high traffic locations, and creating a “virtual consulting” office to provide assistance to student and parents in Bahasa. EducationUSA and the Department of Commerce together brought nearly 100 U.S. universities to Indonesia this spring to meet with Indonesian students and institutions. The Department of State is also supporting the up-front costs for talented, disadvantaged students to apply to study in the U.S. through its Opportunity Program.
The U.S. government welcomes private sector initiatives such as the formation of the U.S.-Indonesia Joint Council for Higher Education Partnership and the engagement of the U.S.-Indonesia Society (USINDO), the East-West Center, the Institute of International Education, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the American Association of Community Colleges, and others.