Media of Instruction in Indonesia: Implications for Bi/Multilingual Education

  • Tony WalkerEmail author
  • Indika Liyanage
  • Suwarsih Madya
  • Sari Hidayati
Part of the Multilingual Education Yearbook book series (MEYB)


Indonesia is among the world’s most linguistically diverse nations. Consequently, inherent issues of language of instruction and of language in-education policies more generally have been unavoidable for policy-makers and of great significance to the people of Indonesia. Ideally, policies would balance several needs: continued development of a cohesive national identity; provision of high-quality education that is equitable and accessible; and, positioning the nation and its people for participation in the global knowledge economy. From the perspective of local languages, medium of instruction (MOI) policy in the school-level education system for the past seventy years has followed a monolingually-oriented path. Local languages, some of which continue to have tens of millions of users, have been slowly replaced by the national language, Bahasa Indonesia. Since 2013, local languages exist at the margins of the national school curriculum, without status or official use as MOI. English MOI has become the focus of controversy and legal intervention in the national school system, and the use of English MOI in school education is now ostensibly restricted to a thriving private school sector. However, government policy has encouraged the use of English MOI in internationally-oriented bilingual programs in higher education, and in 2015 a plan was announced to begin development of an Indonesian/English bilingual curriculum to be implemented across all universities in Indonesia (Dewi in English medium instruction in higher education in Asia-Pacific, pp. 241–258. Cham, Springer, 2017). In the current circumstances, enactment of this MOI policy means higher education is the site of attempts at transformation and innovation in bilingual education. This chapter offers an overview of the current MOI policy situation and its background, identifies and discusses issues that have shaped the outcomes and prospects of bi/multilingual education under current MOI policy, and considers implications for bi/multilingual education in Indonesia going forward.


Langue education policies Media of instruction policies Bi/multilingual education National identity Teacher quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Walker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Indika Liyanage
    • 1
  • Suwarsih Madya
    • 2
  • Sari Hidayati
    • 2
  1. 1.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  2. 2.Yogyakarta State UniversityYogyakartaIndonesia

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