Indonesia Children and School

Laws for Education

There is a law in Indonesia that guarantees free schooling for children between the ages of seven and 15. There is also compulsory schooling. But until the 1980s, the goal of comprehensive education for everyone was still a long way off. Too little happened, especially in the countryside. Efforts are now being made to improve the situation. At least that’s what it says on paper.

Not everyone goes to school

However, many children in Indonesia do not go to school or they only attend school for a short time. The parents have to pay for school uniforms and books. Many cannot afford that. Many schools are also miles from the homes and villages where the children live. Nevertheless, 80 out of 100 children attend at least one elementary school. In secondary schools, the figure is only 70 out of 100. This means that 30 out of 100 children aged ten and over no longer attend school and 20 out of 100 no school at all. These children work very early and have to do their part to support the family.

Education crisis

In 1997 there was a crisis in Asia that made the living conditions of many people there considerably worse. Indonesia was also affected and had to recover from this primarily economic slump over the years. This also affected the education of the children, most of whom no longer attended school as a result of the poor economic situation.

School types

In addition to the state schools, there are also private and religious – especially Islamic schools. But 86 out of 100 Indonesians are Muslimsare not even that many parents send their children to religious schools. Nevertheless, there are also private schools in Indonesia that cost a lot of money there. Wealthy Indonesians can afford these schools for their children, who get an education there that corresponds to ours. You will learn modern foreign languages, how to use the computer and are ready for international studies. But this only reinforces the great differences between winners and losers, the rich and the poor part of the population. Who is allowed to go to school also depends on where you live. Most children go to school on the island of Java, but far fewer in the province of South Sulawesi.

When children go missing

Unlike us, there is no separate legal system for children. What does it mean exactly? Twelve year olds are punished like adults and, in the worst case, put in prison. It also happens again and again that women and children are abducted to work in neighboring countries or they are forced to work as prostitutes. Some children just disappear. How does it work? Every child born with us is entered in a birth register – that is a directory. But that’s not the case in Indonesia. Many children in Indonesia do not have a birth certificate and officially there is no official one. If such a child disappears, in the end no one knows anything about it.


When Indonesian children play, they often use material from nature. So pebbles, nuts or even shells are used as game pieces. Pieces of bamboo are also handy. So there is a game that is played with long sticks. The children also need a ball or, if there is no one, a coconut is used. The children try to push this ball (or the nut) over a precisely laid out route. Whoever reaches the goal first with his ball wins. Marbles are also very popular, there are many special types of marble game that children play over and over again. Indonesian girls also play a kind of jumping rubber, whereby the rubber usually has to be tinkered first. A rubber band is created from many small rubbers at the end.

Indonesia Children


Child Labor in Indonesia

In fact, as a country located in Asia according to iamhigher, Indonesia has committed itself in many agreements to step up action against child labor. But over 2.4 million children in Indonesia have to work under difficult conditions. This work does not include weeding in the garden or clearing the dishwasher, but you work like adults. There are children who knock stones in quarries and carry them around. A job that is not for children. Or they collect rubbish in garbage dumps or work on the plantationsof the country. There are children who have to toil as domestic servants or also work in industry. Children sell newspapers, clean shoes, hire out porters or are sent out on the street to beg. In the worst case, they even have to eke out their existence in the gold and coal mines. Many children also work in the fishery, here they are often long hours on boats, do not come ashore and do the work of adult fishermen.

Work instead of school

The work often takes up to twelve hours or even more a day. That is why many children do not go to school. They have no chance of education and, later, of training and a job. Often it is also not important to the parents that their children receive a better education. You didn’t go to school yourself either. In Indonesia, for example, there is a very long tradition of child labor and, as always with traditions, it is difficult to break with them because people are used to doing the same. Incidentally, heavy child labor is prohibited by the government. But if this law is not controlled, no one who breaks it can be punished. And the children continue to suffer.

Hunger and sickness

28 out of 100 children in Indonesia do not get enough to eat and are therefore malnourished. They often get sick because the medical care – especially in rural areas – is very poor. 50 out of 100 Indonesians don’t know a toilet. The wastewater is discharged unfiltered into the rivers, in which bacteria multiply and cause diseases. Malaria, which affects many Indonesian children, is also a major problem. 26 out of 100 children die before they reach the age of one year.