Having already mandated basic education and made it accessible to all citizens, at least in theory, Indonesia’s next challenge is to boost access to, and quality of, secondary and higher education. Other goals include lowering illiteracy and decreasing disparities in quality of education nationwide. The government is hoping to address challenges like teacher absenteeism, and poor scientific and mathematical literacy, in which Indonesia ranked 50th out of 57 countries in international PISA testing. Indonesia’s health care indicators have improved gradually over the past decade, with reduced infant mortality and increased life expectancy. The decentralisation of the health care system has aided this process somewhat, helping halve the maternal death rate. New lifestyle illnesses derived from the increasing prevalence of calorie-rich Western diets are posing a new threat. In 2004, the government pledged to provide all citizens with universal health insurance, under a Ministry of Health scheme due to be completed by 2014.
This chapter includes interviews with Ir Ciputra, Founder and Chairman, Ciputra Group; and Dr Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, Minister of Health.