Indonesia Seeks to Improve Higher Education Through Partnership With Sweden


OCTOBER 04, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia and Sweden on Wednesday (04/10) signed a memorandum of understanding to increase partnerships on research, higher education and technology. The Southeast Asian country has let it be known that it is seeking to improve the quality of its higher education to allow local graduates to compete better at international level.

"I’ve seen Sweden's higher education system, it's one of the best in the world. Indonesia can learn a lot from them. More collaborations and partnerships with Sweden should improve the quality of our own higher education system," Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir said at a press conference in Jakarta.

The MoU is a follow-up to a letter of intent (LoI) signed by Nasir and his Swedish counterpart, Helene Hellmark Knutsson, in February last year.

Knutsson’s visit to Jakarta this week is also a follow-up to the visit of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden to Indonesia in May.

According to Knutsson, Indonesia and Sweden share similarities in their pursuit to build "strong, knowledge-based societies" through investing in education, research and innovation.

The Indonesia-Sweden cooperation will largely focus on technological transfer, as the Scandinavian country seeks to implement its research results outside of Europe and Indonesia hopes to learn from what the Swedish has developed.

It will also involve technical cooperation, where Indonesia tries to apply the Swedish model of triple helix – cooperation between the government, the private sector and universities. The prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) is already trialing this system, according to Nasir.

The MoU is expected to pave way for higher education institutions in Indonesia to "reach a new level of maturity by 2019," Nasir added.

In the near future, cooperation in higher education may also see Swedish professors visiting Indonesia to share experiences with their Indonesian counterparts.

Indonesia-Sweden Relations

Following the visit of Sweden’s King and Queen in May, bilateral relations between the two countries have seen great progress.

The visit in May resulted in several agreements, including visa exemption for diplomatic and service passport holders, transport cooperation and an LoI on creative industry.

Following the signing of an MoU on transport cooperation, Maritime Affairs Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan visited Sweden in June. The visit saw the signing of another LoI on knowledge exchange and technology transfer in air navigation and air traffic management.

Indonesian ambassador to Sweden and Latvia, Bagas Hapsoro, said another visit is being planned for later this month, this time by Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya.

In trade and investment, the Indonesia-Sweden Executive Business Forum (ISEF) – launched this year – serves as a platform for companies from both countries to engage in dialogue through seminars.

Anders Wickberg, Business Sweden trade commissioner to Indonesia, said his organization wants to improve relations between Swedish and Indonesian business leaders "and really take them to the next level."