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Indonesia Education and Culture Minister Dr Muhadjir Effendy speaks during the 50th Seameo Council Conference in Bandar Sunway. -NSTP/Aziah Azmee.

PETALING JAYA: Various factors need to be taken into consideration when measuring the education rankings of Southeast Asian countries.

Indonesia’s Minister of Education and Culture Prof Dr Muhadjir Effendy, it should not only be based on the methods used to achieve the desired position, but also on the population size of the countries.

“There are countries in Southeast Asia that have made different achievements in education rankings.

“In the International Student Assessment Programme (Pisa), for example, Singapore has a higher ranking, while Indonesia is lower.

“I do not think it is so much about how the goal is achieved, but rather, the population size.

“In terms of population, Singapore may have less than two million schoolchildren, but Indonesia has 41 million students in 17,000 islands.

“Hence, we need to understand what is being done successfully in Singapore may not be that viable to be implemented in Indonesia because of this factor,” he told reporters after attending the 50th South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (Seameo) Council Conference here, today.

On another development, Muhadjir said Indonesia and Malaysia would work together in the field of higher education, as well as engage in teachers and students exchange programmes in the vocational field.

He added Indonesia that planned to exchange learning materials with Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and had relayed its intentions.

Meanwhile, Seameo Secretariat director Dr Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela said Southeast Asian countries were diverse in terms of population, culture and education system.

“We have countries that stand out in education such as Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. Other countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are improving their education system based on their historical background.

“Because of that, we have to work together as a region so we can share the best practices together,” she added.

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