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Why Study Indonesian? A Rationale for Australian Education

In the context of Australia’s place in the world, our engagement with Indonesia and Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) is critical. 

However, the story of Indonesian language learning in Australian schools shows clear patterns of rising and falling. Unfortunately, in the last two decades, the fall has dominated. If current trends continue, Indonesian in Australian schools will be in irreversible crisis – caught between some positive efforts in primary schools and ever-dwindling student numbers in the secondary years. And while we have some new data about the current status of Bahasa Indonesia in our schools, almost nothing is known about what students learn, if anything, about Indonesia through other areas of their education. 

In 2021, Asia Education Foundation (AEF) is pleased to be developing 'Why Study Indonesian? A Rationale for Australian Education' through support from the Australia-Indonesia Institute at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide evidence highlighting the current state of the study of Indonesian in schools and the significant opportunities for engaging with Indonesia and Bahasa Indonesia for young Australians. 


The project will consult with education, business and strategic stakeholders to develop and promote a refreshed and contemporary Rationale for learning Indonesian language and studies in Australian schools that is relevant to education policy makers, school leaders, communities and students. 

As part of this rationale, AEF will be collecting qualitative and quantitative data from relevant parties across Australia and Indonesia to develop a national rationale due for publication in October 2021.

Scoping and research methods will include:

  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • National Survey

In review

Between April and June, AEF invited Australian respondents to take part in a series of questions exploring their engagement with Indonesia, experience and insights into Bahasa Indonesia programmes and the learning of Indonesia in Australian schools.

How to get involved

We warmly welcome you to share this opportunity with your networks and reach out to AEF should you be interested in joining a focus group discussing this further.

Please contact AEF on or call +61 3 8344 3590 to speak with a member of our team.


Why Study Indonesian? A Rationale for Australian Education, has received grant funding from the Australia Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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