Amelia Tan-Straits Times Indonesia
The Singapore brand of education is such a class act among Indonesian parents that yet another school – modelled after the system here – will open in Indonesia.
The Satya Harapan Nanyang International School will open in the middle of next year in Bumi Serpong Damai City, an affluent area south-west of Jakarta.
It will join about 10 existing Singapore-style schools, many of which use Singapore textbooks and curriculum for subjects such as maths, science, English and Chinese.
They also use textbooks from Britain and the United States.
The schools offer kindergarten to junior college-level classes and students graduate with International Baccalaureate diplomas or Cambridge examination certificates.
They are taught in English but also learn Bahasa Indonesia and Mandarin. Teachers are from Singapore and other countries.
The new school is a US$20 million (S$25 million) investment by a group of Indonesian businessmen, including cement and real-estate tycoon Tedy Djuhar.
They have roped in Singapore-based non-profit organization Nanyang International Education Holdings – not linked to the Nanyang schools here – to develop the curriculum.
The school, designed by Singapore architectural firm DP Architects, will have classes from kindergarten to junior college. Students will graduate with a high-school Cambridge examination certificate.
Djuhar, 59, said in a phone interview that it will be headed by a former principal of a Singapore school.
‘Many Indonesian parents want an education for their children which prepares them to study locally or overseas,’ said the old boy of Chung Cheng High School and whose four children studied in Anglo-Chinese School and Singapore American School here.
‘However, the standard of English in many of our schools is not very high and not many offer Chinese. I believe our school will give students more options for their future.’
He foresees a big demand for quality education from the many young Indonesian couples in Bumi Serpong Damai City.
Ng Eng Chin, principal of ACS (International) Jakarta, said schools with links to Singapore have a reputation for being well-managed.
His school was set up in 2006 by the board of governors of the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore and an Indonesian businessman.
‘Singapore has a very established system of training of teachers and leaders in schools. They are highly regarded for being able to bring over the know-how and management skills to establish and build a good system of running schools,’ said Mr Ng, former principal of ACS (Barker Road).
The fees at these schools are generally several times those of local ones. ACS (International) Jakarta charges annual fees from US$7,000 to US$12,000.
The first school in Indonesia to offer the Singapore curriculum was Singapore International School (Indonesia), which opened in Jakarta in 1996. It was set up by a group of Indonesian and Singaporean businessmen.
It proved so popular that seven affiliated schools opened subsequently in other cities such as Bandung and Medan. A spokesman said all eight SIS Group schools are doing well. Two are full while enrollment in the others is at 80 per cent to 90 per cent.
Parents interviewed said the money is well-spent.
Indonesian housewife Trita Ng, 48, whose son is in Primary 4 in ACS (International) Jakarta, pays about $11,400 a year.
She said: ‘At first, I was skeptical about a Singapore-style education as Singapore schools are known to be stressful. But the school turned out to be very well-rounded.
‘My son has taken up tennis, swimming and basketball as co-curricular activities. I feel he has grown more confident and sociable.’
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 2553 5055.