Western Sydney, Deakin and Central Queensland universities will become the next to set up campuses in Indonesia, following the successful opening of Monash’s Jakarta campus in 2022.
The announcement was made in Sydney at the Australia-Indonesia annual leaders’ meeting, where Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese met with Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo.
“Education has long been a key pillar of the bilateral relationship and a source of warm friendships between our students and young professionals,” the Australian government said in a statement, adding that more than 200,000 Indonesian students have studied at Australian tertiary institutions.
“Australia and Indonesia, working together, are committed to meeting the challenges and opportunities of the future,” Albanese added.
Han Xiao Zhang, counsellor for education and research at the Australian Embassy Jakarta welcomed the news of the three proposed campuses, calling it “another significant step forward” for the two nations’ education cooperation.
“Australian education and training providers have long been active in the Indonesia market and recognise its potential. However it is only in recent years that the government of Indonesia has actively encouraged stronger international education and research collaboration,” Zhang told The PIE.
“Australia and Indonesia, working together, are committed to meeting the challenges and opportunities of the future”
Western Sydney University has been granted approval to establish a non-profit Yayasan foundation, which is a necessary precursor to establishing a foreign campus.
The university said approval to establish a branch campus in Surabaya, East Java, is “imminent” and described the city as one which is “serving the needs of a rapidly developing Indonesian economy”.
The proposed campus will offer degree programs along with industry-relevant short courses, with a particular focus on STEM skills.
Subject to approval, work on the campus is due to start in late 2023, with the first intake of students planned for September 2024. Over time, campus numbers are expected to reach 2,500 students, the university has said.
“Western Sydney University has a long and proud history of opening up access to higher education for students who have the drive, ambition and dedication to succeed. Establishing a significant long-term presence in Indonesia is an exciting new chapter in that history,” said Jennifer Westacott, chancellor, Western Sydney University.
“The planned new international campus will create life-changing opportunities for local students to graduate with a globally recognised degree and will support Indonesia in its economic transformation.”
The Surabaya campus plans to offer world-class facilities and a technology-rich learning environment, with a focus on entrepreneurship, climate resilience and sustainability, said WSU vice-chancellor, Barney Glover.
“We will ensure that our long-standing commitment to sustainability and working with local communities to create a more inclusive and resilient future is deeply embedded across all our planned operations in Surabaya,” he added.
Earlier this year, John Molony, pro-vice chancellor and vice-president of international at Deakin University, told The PIE of the university’s plans to operate dual programs in partnership with Lancaster University in West Java’s capital, Bandung.
“The campus in Bandung has received strong support from the Australian and British governments and will offer a unique combination of an Australian and British degree subject to approval by national regulators,” Deakin said of the project that is being facilitated and supported by Navitas.
“Our joint campus in partnership with Lancaster University is very significant and represents a key milestone in Deakin’s long history of engagement with Indonesia,” said Iain Martin, vice-chancellor, Deakin University.
“Indonesia will make great strides as a global economy in the next few decades, and as a near neighbour of Australia, there is high potential for mutually beneficial collaboration.”
Indonesia is growing to be one of the world’s largest economies
Fewer details are known about Central Queensland‘s proposed campus, but the university has already operated a university centre in Jakarta since 2019 in partnership with Bakrie University, allowing Indonesian students to earn Australian degrees.
“From the outset, CQUniversity has worked with the Indonesian government in the spirit of its ambitious tertiary education and job creation plan,” spokesperson for the university said.
“A fundamental part of the plan is improving the pipeline of skilled and qualified workers in a very region-specific approach,” they continued.
“Following the establishment of our Jakarta Executive Business Training Centre in 2019, we are jointly exploring delivery locations that represent the best fit between CQUniversity’s areas of teaching and research expertise and local workforce need, including Balikpapan and IKN Nusantara.”
Indonesia is seeking to add 57 million skilled workers to the economy by 2030 and Zhang told The PIE that Australian education and training providers are well placed to support Indonesia in achieving this ambitious target.
“Indonesia is growing to be one of the world’s largest economies. As its dynamic and rapidly modernising economy grows, its human capital and research needs also continue to grow,” Zhang noted.
“The three new Australian campuses in Indonesia will provide a new generation of Indonesians with the opportunity to study at an Australian university without leaving home and this will benefit both Australia and Indonesia.”