Schools & Education
From birth until the age of 5, Indonesian children do not generally have access to formal education, although there are privately run nurseries, often franchises of western business. From the age of 5 to 6 or 7, they attend 'Taman Kanak-kanak' (TK, or kindergarten). This education is not compulsory for Indonesian citizens, as the aim of this is to prepare them for primary school. Forty-nine thousand kindergartens in Indonesia, 99.35 percent of the total, are privately operated. The years are usually divided into Class A and Class B, with students spending a year in each.
Children ages 7-12 attend 'Sekolah Dasar' (SD, or Elementary School). This level of education is compulsory for all Indonesian citizens, based on the national Constitution. In contrast to the majority of privately run kindergartens, most elementary schools are government-operated public schools, accounting for 93 percent of all elementary schools in Indonesia. Similar to education systems in the U.S. and Japan, students must study for six years to complete this level. Some schools offer an accelerated-learning program, where students who perform well can finish elementary school in five years.
Middle Schools (sometimes known as Junior High Schools) are generally known by the abbreviation SMP ('Sekolah Menengah Pertama') and are part of compulsory education in Indonesia. After finishing elementary school, students attend Middle School for three years, from the ages of 13 to 15. After three years of schooling and graduation, students may move on to High School or cease formal education. There are around 22,000 middle schools in Indonesia with a near-equal split between public and private.
Senior High School
Senior High Schools are generally known by the abbreviation SMA ('Sekolah Menegah Atas'). Based on the national Constitution, Indonesian citizens do not have to attend high school as it requires only nine years of education. This is also reflected by the number of high schools in Indonesia, with just slightly below 9,000 schools.
After graduation from a Senior High School, students may attend a university.