Monash to establish Indonesia’s first foreign campus

The Indonesian government has approved plans by Melbourne’s Monash University to establish the Asian nation’s first foreign university campus.

To be based in Jakarta and known as Monash Indonesia, the postgraduate offshoot will provide masters and PhD degrees as well as executive programmes and micro-credentials.

Indonesia’s Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim said he was “very pleased” by Monash’s decision to open a branch of the university in his country.

“This will help accelerate the strengthening of our education system and deepen the social, economic and technological links between Australia and Indonesia. This partnership will be the first of many other partnerships to come,” Makarim said.

Australia’s largest university

With more than 40,000 international students among a total enrolment likely to exceed 85,000 this year, Monash is Australia’s biggest university.

As well as its four campuses in Melbourne, the university also has a research and teaching centre in Prato in Italy, a graduate research school in India and a graduate school in Suzhou in China.

Monash courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa, while its total budget is likely to exceed AU$2.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) this year, of which more than AU$7 million will come from full-fee paying foreign students.

But, whatever its size and status in Australia and elsewhere around the world, Monash will be overshadowed in Indonesia which has 3,000 higher education institutions with more than 6,000 international students.

According to the QS World University Rankings 2019, Universitas Indonesia is ranked top, followed by the Bandung Institute of Technology, Gadjah Mada University, Universitas Padjadjaran and Bogor Agricultural University.

But Monash University Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner told University World News that the Jakarta campus would be “research intensive and industry-engaged”. She said it would operate with the full support of both the Indonesian and Australian governments.

“The establishment of Monash Indonesia represents an important deepening of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia, with long-term benefits for both countries in the areas of education, research and industry collaboration,” Gardner said.

Two-way flow of students, scholars

“In particular, it will facilitate the two-way flow of students and scholars, and innovative ideas and technology.”

Monash Indonesia would make a strong and distinctive contribution to Indonesia’s social, economic and technological development by bringing expertise in areas of high demand, she said.

These included data science and digital technology, infrastructure and urban planning, creative industry and entrepreneurship, plus health systems and public health.

In establishing the new campus, Gardner said the university was continuing its commitment to being a “truly global university”.

The new institution will launch short executive programmes later this year, while the first intake of masters degree students is expected in the last quarter of 2021.

As with its other campuses, students of Monash Indonesia would be awarded a Monash University degree, “with opportunities for cross-campus collaboration for research purposes”, Gardner said.

“The physical establishment also serves as a symbol of Monash’s commitment to Indonesia and the wider Asian region, as well as stronger research and education links between Indonesia and Australia,” she added.