A Quest of Indonesian Universities for Global Recognition

April 13, 2023

Contributors: Maroof Ahmed & ANJ | Editor: Supriyono

The Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) hosted a public lecture on April 10, 2023, themed "Indonesian Universities Search of Global Recognition: Challenges Ahead" inviting Prof. Ir. Ari Purbayanto, the Director of the Executive Board of the National Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (BAN-PT).

As the title has hinted, the event was held to map out the challenges and opportunities for Indonesian higher education institutions in obtaining global recognition, which here in line with UIII’s mission to provide quality postgraduate education with international standards.

On this occasion, Prof. Purbayanto explained that Indonesian Higher Education Institutions (HEI) face a number of challenges to be more globally recognized. One of the challenges is the gap between quality and quantity. 

In this regard, the statistic showed that from 2017 until 2022, there is an average of 186 newly established HEIs in Indonesia, primarily private universities. However, while quantity is one thing, quality is another thing. 

"[Thus] Indonesia must invest more in [term of quality of] HEI to become a developed country in 2045," Prof. Purbayanto said.

A number of efforts could be taken to address this challenge, such as by enhancing the quality assurance for higher education. For this, Prof. Purbayanto said that the progress of education is inseparable from education quality assurance, which should be carried out in a good, consistent and sustainable manner.

For quality assurance, Prof. Purbayanto suggested the importance of improving the quality through a moratorium on new universities—except for strategic fields of study, and through the unification of several small HEIs which have challenges to develop or have low quality.

In addition, Prof. Purbayanto emphasized that Indonesia needs to increase the number of qualified lecturers with doctoral degrees, and lecturers with the functional positions of Head Lecturer and Professor. Currently, only around 13.88% of lecturers hold doctoral degrees, while only around 2.16% of them hold a professorship title.

In this case, Prof. Purbayanto argued that increasing the number of universities with excellent accreditation ratings and international accreditation for study programs is essential for boosting Indonesia's competitiveness at the global level.  

"[This can be achieved by] improving the quality of learning through a consistent, good, and sustainable internal quality assurance process, and increasing the acquisition of international accreditation of study programs," he said. 

To further enhance Indonesia's competitiveness, Prof. Purbayanto recommended the provision of block grants to state universities and increasing international cooperation. Here, Prof. Purbayanto asserted that by joining forces with world-renowned institutions, Indonesian universities could leverage their partners' knowledge, resources, and expertise to fuel their own growth and success.

In addition, Prof. Purbayanto also underscored the importance for Indonesian HEIs to focus on research and innovation. He suggested that by investing in cutting-edge research facilities, offering grants and incentives to researchers, and nurturing a culture of innovation, Indonesian universities can contribute to groundbreaking discoveries that will reverberate throughout the international academic community.

Lastly, Prof. Purbayanto highlighted the need for effective branding and marketing campaigns to raise the visibility of UIII and other Indonesian HEIs on the global stage. He emphasized that by showcasing their strengths, achievements, and unique value propositions, these institutions can attract international students, faculty, and partners who will contribute to shaping their global reputation.

The insights provided by Prof. Purbayanto serve as an outline for Indonesian HEIs in their quest for global recognition. As they navigate the complex landscape of higher education, these institutions must remain steadfast in their pursuit of excellence and forge ahead with determination and resilience.