In 2002, a new amendment to the constitution required that central and local authorities spend 20% of their budgets on education, a level achieved in only one year, 2009. The Indonesian education system is large, well-funded, fast growing and quickly improving. Despite some difficult years as a result of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and some ineffective policies instituted in its aftermath, the government has made a significant commitment to the sector. In 2013 the government increased the number of years of compulsory education from nine to twelve, the former having been a requirement since 1994. If Indonesia can carry out its programmes effectively, the improvements will be reflected in test scores and international rankings. Foreign universities would then be keener to form partnerships that further raise the country’s global standing.
While Indonesia has faced significant setbacks in the past, it has made real progress in health care provision and the system is about to dramatically improve. The country is currently implementing a universal healthcare plan and, if all goes according to schedule, by 2019 everyone in the country will receive medically necessary services free of charge. Reimbursement rates need to be set at a level that the government can afford, but one that attracts the full participation of for-profit medical groups. Ultimately, the sector would like to attract inward medical tourism dollars and begin competing with the likes of Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. For international medical groups, the country will become a major target for business and investment, with new equipment, technology and capital needed to build the sector. If the government allows for enough international participation on good terms, the Indonesian health sector will be a profitable and growing market for health care operators.
This chapter contains interviews with Nafsiah Mboi, Minister of Health; and Hasbullah Thabrany, President, South-east Asian Public Health Education Institutions Network.