Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, has over 260 million inhabitants located on more than 17,500 islands. In recent years, the country has been undergoing significant reforms, embarking on a new path with a rapid development of the social middle class and noticeable economic growth.
However, as in many other countries, the progress that already becomes evident in the capital Jakarta and other larger cities differs greatly from the current situation in remote provinces. In order to overcome those disparities, strong partnerships could be a great helping hand. Germany is already among the countries that have tight contact with Indonesia, also represented by H.E. Arif Havas Oegroseno, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Federal Republic of Germany. And this cooperation has all the chances of growing further, turning into a strong international partnership.
The history of German cooperation with Indonesia is already quite broad and bright. In 2019/2020, both countries are working together as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Apart from that, as the largest member states of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Germany and Indonesia have numerous regional policy links.
Higher Education Cooperation between Indonesia and Germany
According to DAAD, 5,133 Indonesian students were enrolled at German universities in the summer semester of 2018. This number represents about 3.8% of all Asian students in Germany and makes Indonesia rank 6th, after China, India, Iran, Vietnam and South Korea.
The Indonesian government is providing various incentives for such academic exchanges. Since 2012, more than 18,400 scholarships have been awarded to Indonesian students who study abroad. And over the past 60 years, more than 30,000 Indonesians have studied in Germany.
The educational bonds between Germany and Indonesia are already time-proven, as the countries are connected by a partnership in the area of research cooperation from as early as 1979. Apart from that, according to the DAAD, there are currently 138 German-Indonesian university partnerships covering a broad spectrum of disciplines. Among those universities, Duisburg-Essen and Freiburg have especially close partnerships with Indonesia. Speaking of the fields of study, the engineering sciences are particularly popular among Indonesians in Germany.
The German language is also enjoying growing popularity in Indonesia, with more than 150,000 Indonesians currently learning German. Some of them are studying at the Goethe Institute, represented in the cities of Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya. Some of the children are also studying at the German International School in Jakarta (Deutsche Schule Jakarta, DSJ) - the biggest German school in Indonesia.
Indonesian Skilled Workers in Germany
Because of the overcapacity of Indonesian skilled workers, especially in the healthcare and medical sectors, the country is looking for opportunities to send them abroad. This way they are balancing the economic situation within Indonesia and helping to solve the problem of lack of qualified personnel in other countries.
Germany at the same time highly appreciates the opportunity to welcome Indonesian professionals and plays an active role in supporting the reform of the Indonesian vocational education system. For this purpose, the German-Indonesian Medical Association - GIMA (Deutsch-Indonesische Gesellschaft für Medizin) was created. The organization manages the exchange of scientists, doctors, students, and has already established cooperation agreements with several Indonesian clinics for the targeted experience exchange and transfer of science between the countries.
Another great example of bilateral initiatives is the Diaspora Indonesia - the association based in Hanseatic Bremen which organizes various events to celebrate the Indonesian culture in Germany and to connect people that share a common cultural background.
Expatrio’s Outlook on the Indonesian-German Relations
Overall, the cooperation between Indonesia and Germany has outstanding opportunities for the upcoming years. The diversification of the labor market and extended qualifications are becoming increasingly important for both countries. Indonesians benefit from German vocational training courses while Germany thrives with the increased number of prospective students, which creates a win-win situation for everyone.