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Legal Entity Reform of Indonesia’s Public Colleges and Universities

Tjiauw Thuan

Since 1999, Indonesia’s higher education system has entered a new stage. The government promotes legal entity reform at public colleges and universities, and plans to transform all public colleges and universities into legal entities. This is unprecedented in Indonesian education history. Eight public higher education institutions in the first and second batch were succesfully converted to legal entities. After experiencing legal entity reform, Indonesia’s public colleges and universities improved. The government indirectly proposed three types of public higher education institution. This means that Indonesia’s public colleges and universities developed from a single model to becoming these diversified models.

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Introduction

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Higher education in Indonesia entered a new stage in 1999, when the government began promoting the transformation of public colleges and universities into legal entities. This was unprecedented in the history of education in Indonesia. Eight public institutions of higher education were successfully converted into legal entities in two batches. However, after several years, these public colleges and universities returned to their original status.

Between 1999 and 2012, public colleges and universities in Indonesia experienced a period of dynamic development. The government’s legal entity reform policies, relating to public colleges and universities, are the object of our study, which analyzes the content and background of these policies and examines the starting points, implementation process and results of the legal entity reform of public colleges and universities in Indonesia. These policies were inseparable from the country’s political, social and economic development.

Unfortunately, this reformation was met with intense protest. A significant number of people opposed public colleges and universities being reformed as public entities. Contrary to the government’s expectations, the legal entity reform of public colleges and universities was ultimately abrogated by the Constitutional Court. As a result, some might consider the legal entity reform to have been a “failure.” However, the experience of legal entity reform resulted in the improvement of Indonesia’s public colleges and universities. The government indirectly proposed three types of public institutions of higher education: traditional public colleges and universities, public colleges and universities that adopted a public service financial management...

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