Jayanty Nada Shofa, Singapore – Indonesia's overseas graduates can potentially bring home economic benefits, as the country seeks to become one of the world's top five economies by its centennial in 2045.
According to British Council Indonesia country director Summer Xia, research has shown that studying abroad can give a boost to a graduate's employability.
"Students who have had the experience of studying abroad do better when it comes to employment. They tend to get better jobs and progress better because they are able to benefit from other educational systems such as in the UK," Xia told Indonesian reporters on the sidelines of the 2022 Going Global Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore on Tuesday.
"That will ensure the future generation of Indonesia are competitive and more employable. They will in return be able to contribute more to the country's economic growth," he said.
International education also aligns with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vision for human capital development, according to Xia.
"President Jokowi in his state of nation address said that Indonesia really needed to focus on human capital development. In order to have the skilled workforce that the economic growth would require, those students who have gained experience and qualification from abroad will be able to use their experience to contribute to different sectors within the society," Xia said.
The British Council reported that 3,000 Indonesian students were enrolled in UK universities every year. Xia also said that engineering, computer science, and business studies were some of the top picks for Indonesian students. But interest in the creative industry and creative economy-related disciplines such as performance arts is growing.
Student mobility, however, is two-way. Economic benefits do not only come from Indonesian students studying abroad. British students learning in Indonesian universities can also provide economic benefits – direct ones at that.
"With the [Indonesian overseas graduates] experience and other things that we do at the British Council to support higher education partnerships between Indonesia and the UK, Indonesian universities are also improving their quality of education as well as their global rankings. This would enable them to attract more students to study in Indonesia," Xia added.
"This is something that the UK government has supported through our Turing Scheme, which will support UK students to study abroad, including Indonesia. This then brings direct economic benefits to Indonesia by them coming and studying [in Indonesia]."
Higher education partnerships in the form of researcher collaborations can also translate into economic growth.
"So they can come up with more creative and innovative solutions to address some of the most pressing issues the world or Indonesia faces such as climate change, and renewable energy. So then we would be able to support these crucial sectors that Indonesia needs to develop to grow its economy," Xia said.