Great News for International Teachers in Indonesia!

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.

9 thoughts on “Great News for International Teachers in Indonesia!

  1. As an expat teacher, are we given the priviledge yo let our own kids study in the school we’r working at? Thanks for your response. I am currently teaching here in Singapore and very keen to get a job in Indonesia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing Bruce. I’ve just left a teaching post in Indonesia and all seems in good order for expatriates to continue to teach there.


  3. Sorry all, above blog should read Regulation 18, 2009 not Regulation 10, 2009. However, the basic point remains, there are no provisions in the above regulations that limit expatriates to teaching ESL. I have copies of both and can send to anyone who requests them.


    1. I think you’ve put a lot of work into answering concerns already. Sometimes it’s difficult for those not presently in an international school setting to understand the intricacies of local policies and why it’s important to reserve judgement/panic until the impact on a particular school or schools is clear…never worked at an international school yet that was not sorting through some form of tax, visa, work permit issues. Sounds like you are on top of this one and will let the teaching community know if there are changes to the policies in Indonesia.


  4. Happy to provide a copy of Regulation 10, 2009 and Regulation 17, 2010 to PsyGuy or anyone else and I challenge them to find any provision that restricts expatriates to teaching ESL.


  5. It’s nice to hear from an international school administrator regarding this issue. It sheds more light on the subject than a cscope curriculum consultant ever could. Thanks for taking the time to offer a balanced perspective.


  6. Thanks for this update, Bruce. It looks like it may be safe to accept a job in Indonesia at one of the more “international” schools. I sure hope you’re right because there is no published material that substantiates what you have to say. But, having lived overseas for many years I do know there is lots of negotiating and behind the scenes deals that take place….in the US, too.


  7. Thank you for the clarification, however your claim that the true international schools will still be able to employ teachers outside of ESL (EAL) as being nonsense, does not supply any evidence why that is so. It is only your assertion that it is, and I find that in an absence of data to suggest otherwise, that your rhetoric is “unpersuasive” on its face alone.

    Aside from your report that you and the other “elite” schools in Indonesia are “working” with government officials, you supply no citation or rational why the elite schools would be exempted from the implementation of such regulation.

    Your treatise on the matter is little more then an appeal to authority, an authority that not being a MP or other government official you simply do not have.


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