Nusa Dua. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Indonesia still had a long way to go to improve its education system, adding that programs designed and implemented by local governments were key to improving the quality and standard.
She said Indonesian students often lack critical thinking skills and empathy and that the country must therefore tweak its education system to nurture these values.
"We recognize that there is still a long way to go for Indonesia to improve the quality of education," Sri Mulyani said at the inaugural World Conference on Creative Economy in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Wednesday.
The country has been allocating 20 percent of its annual state budget to education, while the average Indonesian student is expected to spend at least 12.3 years in school – above the global average.
But according to the World Bank's Human Capital Index published last month, the quality of learning most Indonesian children receive is only equivalent to 7.9 years in school.
The government plans to spend Rp 490 trillion ($33 billion) on education, research and development, and innovation in formal education and vocational training next year, which would be 10 percent more than this year.
The minister said it has become more pressing for Indonesia to ensure that the funds allocated to training and the development of valuable skills are well spent, if the country hopes to benefit from the creative economy and foster growth.
She noted that local governments, which are responsible for the implementation of education programs and policies, must improve their capacity to achieve this goal.
"It's a problem of how we can use this resource in the most effective and also most efficient way, to achieve the best result," Sri Mulyani said.