On August 31, Prime Minister Scott Morrison secured an end to negotiations on a new free trade agreement with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, opening a path for Australian universities to build new campuses in Indonesia. Negotiations began in 2012, but have recently ramped up. President Widodo and Prime Minister Morrison signed a memorandum of understanding committing the countries to get a free trade deal done by November.
Cooperation with Indonesia in the higher education space is both promising and complex. The prospect of Australian campuses in Indonesia represents another set of opportunities for education providers, in facilitating “internationalisation at home”.
The higher education component of this free trade deal is important to Australian universities and to the broader economy. But its negotiation presents significant challenges. It’s important to carefully consider how Australia approaches establishing campuses in Indonesia, keeping in mind the student experience is most important.