Great News for International Teachers in Indonesia!

February 23, 2012

In response to our posting titled “Teaching in Indonesia May Be OUT Next Year, we have received reassuring information showing the new legislation may not apply to what most of us classify as an International School. Bruce Ferres, Principal at Australian International School – Indonesia, has supplied ISR with information that points to some gray areas in the bill, to which we were not privy. Apparently, true international schools such as British International School (BIS), Jakarta International School (JIS) and the Australian International School (AIS), to name a few, may not be subject to the new regulations.


Following is important information about the new Indonesian legislation as supplied to ISR  by Bruce Ferres , Principal Australian International School  – Indonesia

..The Indonesian Government has, in recent years, attempted to regulate the proliferation of independent private schools, International schools and National Plus schools all of which offer alternative programs to regular local government schools.

..The first attempt to lay down a regulatory framework in respect of all non-standard government schools in recent times was Regulation 18, 2009. This was followed with Regulation 17, 2010 and together they set out categories of schools and for each category the manner in which they ought to be organized and other licensing criteria.

..National Plus schools are government schools that teach an international curriculum (e.g. IB, Cambridge) alongside the local standard Education Department curriculum. These schools can charge fees and although mostly attended by the children of wealthier Indonesians they also enroll the children of expatriates. Most of their teachers are local Indonesians but they employ a significant number of expatriate teachers and often have an expatriate Head of School or Principal. Nowhere in either regulation is there any suggestion that these schools be now called International Schools.

..A large number of small independent private schools have been established in the last decade and by using the word “international” in their title attempted to disguise the fact that they were poorly resourced, often employed unqualified teachers and charged gullible parents exorbitant fees. These are the schools that will, correctly in my view, be most adversely affected by the new regulations because they will not be able to meet the new accreditation and quality assurance requirements.

..This brings us to the genuine International Schools such as the British International School (BIS), Jakarta International School (JIS) and the Australian International School (AIS) to name just a few. These schools were established as foundations under the Ministry of Justice and have for many years now been providing a quality international education. The vast majority (80%) of their teachers and students are expatriates but they also educate a number of Indonesian nationals and employ a number of Indonesian teachers.

..One of the difficulties posed by Regulation 18, 2009 and Regulation 17, 2010 is that these genuine International schools do not readily fit into any of the categories of school described by the regulations. These schools have been working together with the authorities to address this dilemma and high level talks are currently in progress aimed at amending the wording or agreeing to interpretations that would minimize the impact. Even without an immediate resolution it is simply not true that all International Schools will be called Foreign Schools. In fact, in the unlikely event that current talks do not resolve the current dilemma, most genuine International Schools would more easily fit into a category known as a “Joint Education Unit” but this would not have any impact on the name of the school.

..The new regulations do not prevent Indonesian nationals from attending these schools as long as Civics, Religion and Bahasa Indonesia is taught as a part of the curriculum, they continue to sit the National Examinations and other requirements are met. Some schools will find creative ways of blending this into their program others might choose not to enroll Indonesian nationals.

..The genuine International Schools will continue to employ expatriate teachers to deliver programs and subjects accredited by the IBO, Cambridge, BSSS and other internationally recognized curricula. The claim that expatriate teachers will be confined to teaching English or ESL is nonsense.


You may contact Bruce directly at with  questions and concerns or, better yet, post them here so we can all stay up-to-date. We have asked Bruce will monitor this blog and answer questions.

My Favorite International Teacher Blog

February 23, 2012

Blogging is now the preferred medium of International Educators for sharing overseas travel and teaching adventures with friends and family. With plenty of space for commentary, Blogs also provide ample room for photos, and even home-made video clips. Best of all, Blogs are designed for interaction between reader and Blog owner. Taking just minutes to set up a personal Blog, it’s small wonder Blogging has become so popular among international educators.

Blogs are actually more than a great way to share experiences with folks back home and can be of tremendous value to other International Teachers, especially those new to the international teaching adventure and looking for information. Reading about the experiences of overseas educators, particularly those in a region we may be considering for our next career move, helps immensely with the decision-making process.

International Teachers’ Blogs usually provide a first-hand look at what life is really like in various locations. A family Blog displaying a rewarding time for both parents and children can signal a family-friendly location. Photos strictly of fern and fauna may point to little available cultural activity. But, the real beauty of a Blog is that we can ask questions of the Blog owner, who can then personalize the information just for us.

We invite you to join us on My Favorite International Teacher Blog to share information about, and links to, Blogs of interest to International Educators.

Teaching in Indonesia May Be Out Next Year!

February 16, 2012

In 2013 an alarming education policy will take effect in Indonesia. The new legislation, Peraturan Pemerintah Republik Indonesia Nomor 17 tahun 2010, has far-reaching implications for international educators wishing to teach in Indonesia. Here are the basics of the legislation as explained to ISR:

1. “National Plus Schools” [nat’l curriculum + internat’l curriculum, eg: Cambridge] will now be called “International Schools.” This means that for every foreign teacher there must be 3 local Indonesian teachers. Foreign teachers will only be allowed to teach English and NOthing more, as all other subjects will be taught by locals.

2. Schools currently called “International Schools” will become “Foreign Schools.” NO Indonesian citizens will be allowed to attend these schools.

It appears international teachers in Indonesia will be relegated to teaching ESL. If this bill affects your plans, please join us here on the Indonesia Education Legislation Blog to share information and ideas on this topic with other international educators.

International Teacher Initiation

February 16, 2012

“I suppose I’ve now been initiated into the world of international teaching. I have been completely blindsided and deceived by my admin who informed me I will not be getting another contract. This, despite two glowing performance appraisals over the past two years at this school.

In the end, although I was praised for having a high level of competence and skill in the job, they pointed out a fuzzily-defined personality trait of mine as being the reason for non-renewal.

My question is this: What do I say to prospective employers when asked my reasons for “resigning” (as I was given the option to do) after the initial two-year contract

Also, should I make a case to my recruiting agency over this? Any help would be much appreciated!”

I was Happy Until I found ISR

February 9, 2012

“I recently accepted a post at a school and start in August. I’m beginning to sell house, car, everything. But now, two weeks later, I am really worried…I just discovered ISR! Ouch! There’s one bad review after another about “my” new school! I wish I knew whether these reviews were teachers just letting off steam after a bad day, or if I should be seriously concerned. I am giving up my whole life here at home for this post abroad. Now I’m just not sure what to do. I was happy until I found your web site! Now? Any suggestions on what to do next?”

Would You Stick It Out? Or Run?

February 9, 2012

When you find yourself in an intolerable school situation do you stick it out or run for your life? Opinions vary, with each side of the dilemma adamant about its position:

I’D RUN FOR IT: “There is no honor in suffering. The idea that working at a rotten school in a lousy country, educating a do-nothing population with no interest in academics will somehow make you a better teacher or a better person is pure malarkey! Suffering is suffering no matter how you cut it & the less time of your professional life you can spend doing it, the better. Some schools are so god-awful, shifty, & immoral, the most honorable thing to do is to call it a day & RUN!”

I’D STICK IT OUT: “I could have run away from the job, but I felt the experience would actually serve me well in the future & that as a professional I could learn from what was happening in the school. My colleagues thought that if I left without notice & the school could not find a replacement, the children’s education would ultimately suffer. As an educator first & foremost, I could not leave the students.”


Could A Confidential Reference be Killing Your Career?

February 2, 2012

“Dear ISR, I’ve received some positive responses to my applications for international teaching positions. But, in 3 instances after the recruiter contacted my confidential referees, interest cooled down, making me wonder what the problem might be.

I am absolutely sure referees 2 and 3 are very positive and complimentary. But I’m less certain about my current employer for whom I have worked for almost 5 years, and under whom I really feel I have been poorly and disrespectfully treated.

The fact is, I’ve only listed my present Director (with permission) on the basis that it is usually expected the current employer be included. I am, however, beginning to think he is damaging my prospects. This is pure speculation but a distinct pattern is emerging that leads me clearly to this conclusion.

I do know he almost certainly scuppered another potential appointment 3 years ago when the head of the school I was applying to informed me that my Director said I was under contract and therefore not eligible to apply. This was not true because the new contract being offered for the next term had not yet been presented to me.

This is really a bad situation. How about some advice…..anybody?”