Education is the backbone for country development. Usually most developed countries have a better education system than any developing countries. However, it is still interesting to compare the education system of both countries, for example in Australia and Indonesia. There are several ways and perspective can be applied in the comparisons. To make simple, the comparative analysis is only done based on the age, starting from the kindergarten level up to the higher education level. Some generalizations even though have been minimized, are inevitable.
The children activities in the Australian kindergartens (3-5 year old) are mostly playing, dancing, singing and other similar ones. The kids are encouraged to speak in public and also introduced to several basic important things such as safety and sanitation. In Indonesia , things are quite similar. However, the reading and math are more advanced. As a result, it is normal that kindergarten kids in Indonesia are able to read and do some basic math. However, their social skills are less developed than those in Australia.
At elementary schools, the Aussie system is considered more relax than Indonesia’s. It is normal to watch an Indonesian eight year old kid cramming in the room to study math, natural science such as geography, and social science like history and religion, while his Aussie counterpart is playing sport or music. When Australian system develops almost all nine types of human intelligences, the Logical-Mathematical Intelligence is the main focus for Indonesian kids. Also, Indonesian kids are trained to memorize some scientific facts and figures in their textbooks, meaning less time for playing.
The similar differences can also be observed at the secondary level. The high school students in Indonesia often study Physics, Math, and Chemistry at the standard of first year university level. They often need additional off-school courses in order to catch up. One also could argue that the Australian education lacks of discipline. However, when comparing at the higher education level in both countries, the Indonesian standard is significantly falling behind the Australian’s, perhaps due to lacks of funding and resources.
In general, the Indonesian system is mainly focusing on a few type of intelligence such as logical whereas the diversity is a lot better in Australia. That explains why it is more difficult to find great athletes or artists among 230 million populations in Indonesian than in only 20 million Australians. In addition, the Indonesian system is still mostly based on “guru” style, the system that has been abandoned in most of developed countries that prefer Socratic style of teaching.
Which one is better? Depends on what you want. To be a scientist or engineer, perhaps Indonesian system is good. However, Australian system is capable in developing all nine types of intelligence which allow more development opportunity for most of the children.