In the last 2011, a controversial debate happened on parliamentary environment to determine this policy. The members of it discussed the draft of internationalization on higher education.
Without finding the dealing agreement between them, finally the adoption of the draft was postponed to the next year’s agenda. Many unresolved issues could not deal immediately. One of the controversial issues in the draft was internationalization.
According to Djoko Santoso, director general of higher education, indeed, this should not be a problem because its modality is so clear. Foreign universities are welcome to establish themselves in Indonesia, but they have to follow our system and collaborate with our national universities, including in terms of curriculum development and management (Kompas, Dec. 6, 2011).
While having this issue in our country, far different reality can be seen in our neighbor country, Malaysia. Malaysian government has invited foreign universities to be established in the country since last three decades. Even, interestingly, the government has a master plan regarding this effort. Areas are provided for the invitee universities.
In 1999, for example, Malaysia invited Curtin University, Australia, and the University of Nottingham, the UK, to establish campuses in Malaysia. Slowly but surely, Malaysia higher education has been developed to international level with such way.
Taking this policy, Malaysian government has realized that the impact of establishing world class universities in the country is not merely for the higher education development. Curtin University, for example, is located in Miri, Sarawak which was a relatively underdeveloped area in the past. Through this policy, this area is now greatly developed and is a destination for tertiary education, not only for Malaysian students but also for students from some other 40 countries throughout the world. So, the presence of a number of foreign students who are about 70.000 will give direct impact on revenue contribution to the Malaysian economy.
Another example is china. During 1978 to 1992, the internationalization of higher education in china was essentially motivated by a desire for realizing the four modernizations, which were modernizations industry, agriculture, defense, and science and technology, through economic reform.
In real action, some Chinese universities have been collaborating with some leading international universities. For instances, Hunan International Economics University and Sichuan Tianyi University have been making collaboration with Laureate International University as one of international leaders in higher education in medical sciences, architecture, hospitality management, art, and design.
The result of the efforts, nowadays China is one of the top 10 largest countries in hosting international students. Of Corse, the impacts given are very positive for all aspects in this country.
Comparing to Indonesia, the internationalization of higher education is assumed as a weird thing. The people in charge are still debating to implement the system for higher education development so that this country is left behind by other countries, even by its neighbor, Malaysia.
If the system is implemented, it will help to improve the higher education in a short term. By collaborating with leading international universities, Indonesia universities will be helped to compete in global level easily. Another benefit can be taken is that this effort will accelerate the accreditation process for unaccredited study program easily because the quality improvement of Indonesian universities will be assisted by leading international universities such as the improvement of lecturer education quality.
Yet, other benefits will affect this country such as what have happened to Malaysia and china. This country step by step will get the “harvest” following the two countries above in implementing the system.
In short, only debating this policy to improve the better higher education will be useless. However, this is a great challenge to move forward to a better Indonesia through comprehensive reform in higher education, which will meet international standards.