Indonesian Lesson: Asking About Education Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

Indonesian society values education so highly, most Indonesians will put a lot of effort into getting a higher education even though an academic title will not guarantee an improved economic situation.  The more academic titles someone has, the better he will be treated by society because he will be perceived as someone with high cognition and knowledge.  Hence, it is customary to see someone’s name with many academic titles added to his name to show how highly educated he is, for example:

        Ir. Dra. Hj. Rini Wirawan, MSc, MBA, Ph.D.

        Drs. Hendra Sumarto, S.H., M.H.I.

So, it is not surprising when they are willing to spend time answering your questions about their education.

Let’s learn the vocabulary first before we are talking about education in Indonesian.


  1. Sekolah vs. kuliah: Use ‘sekolah’ when you ask about someone’s education from Kindegarden to High School. Use ‘kuliah’ when you talk about or ask someone’s education higher than High School.


Q1: Anda kuliah di mana? (Where did you go to college? or Where do you go to school?

A1: Saya kuliah di Universitas Parahyangan (I went to Parahyangan University.)

Q2: Anda sekolah di mana? (Where do you go to elementary school/middle school/high school?

A2: Saya sekolah di SDN Cidurian/SMPN V/SMAN XII. (I study at Cidurian Elementary School/… Middle School/… High School.)

    2. Angkatan /Lulusan … vs. Class of …: unlike in the US other countries, Indonesians will ask the year you start your college/university ‘angkatan’, rather than the year           of the graduation ‘class of  ..’


Q1: Anda angkatan tahun berapa di Parahyangan (When year did you start you study?)

A1: Saya angkatan 95. (I began my study in 1995.)

Q2: Anda lulusan tahun berapa? (Which year is your class year?

A2: Saya lulusan tahun 2001. (I am class of 2001 in …)

Note: The graduate ..

3. Index Prestasi Kumulatif (IPK): GPA

Q1: Berapa IPK Anda? (What is your GPA?)

A1: IPK saya 3.9. (My GPA is 3.9.)

    4. Lulus: graduate

Q1: Kapan Anda lulus SMA/Tahun berapa Anda lulus dari SMA? (When did you graduate high school?)

A1: Saya lulus SMA tahun 2005. (I graduated from high school in 2005.)

    5. Ijasah: diploma, certificate

Q1: Apa Anda punya ijasah SMA? (Do you have a high school diploma?)

A1: Ya. Saya punya. (Yes, I have.)

Level of Education in Indonesia

Preschool: Prasekolah

Taman Kanak-Kanak (TK): Kindergarden

Sekolah Dasar (SD): Elementary School

Sekolah Menengah Pertama (SMP): Junior High School or Middle School (MS)

Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA): Senor High School or High School (HS)

Jurusan Ilmu Pengetahuan Alam (IPA): Specialization subjects of natural science.

Jurusan Ilmu Pengetahuan Sosial (IPS): Specialization subjects of social science.

Jurusan … : an academic major at the university.

Diploma 2 (D2): Associate Degree (require two years study).

Diploma 3 (D3) and Diploma 4 (D4): in Indonesia, this three and four years of education are considered as a Bachelor Degree.

Strata 1 (S1): five years of education. It is equal to a Bachelor Degree in the US and other foreign countries.

Strata 2 (S2): Master’s Degree

Strata 3 (S3): Doctoral  Degree

Academic and Religious titles in Indonesia

       Ir. Dra Hj. Rini Wirawan, MSc, MBA, Ph.D.

       Drs. Hendra Sumarto, S.H., M.H.I

Insinyur (Ir.):  an undergraduate title in engineering.

Doktorandus (Drs.): an undergraduate tile in the social subject. It is originally from the Dutch academic title. The female form is doktoranda (Dra.)

Sarjana Hukum (S.H.): an S1 degree in law, require five years of education. It is an equivalent with a Bachelor of law in the US.

Master Hukum Islam (M.H.I.): Master of Islamic Law

Haji (H.) and Hajjah (Hj.) is written before the name of a person to indicate that the person has completed a hajj pilgrimage.  The female form is Hajjah (Hj.).



(The conversation takes place during a break in a seminar)

Hasan: Apa kabar, Marni.

           How are you, Marni?

Sumarni: Baik. Saya dengar Anda satu, kuliah dengan Anggun, ya?

           Great, thanks. I heard that you went to the same university with Anggun?

Hasan: Betul sekali. Kami selalu pergi ke sekolah yang sama sejak prasekolah.

            That’s true. We always went to the same school since Preschool.

Sumarni: Maksudnya Anda berdua sama-sama pegi ke SMP, dan SMA juga?

            Do you mean both of you went to the same Middle School and

            High School, too?

Hasan: Betul sekali. Ngomong-ngomong Anda angkatan berapa

di Universitas Parahyangannya?

            That’s right. By the way, what year did you start your study 

            at the University of Parahyangan?

Sumarni: Angkatan 95. Oh saya baru ingat, sepupu saya satu SMA dengan Anda.

Dia Jurusan IPA.

             I started the university in 95. Well, I just remember, my cousin went to the

             same High School with you. He was taking specialized subjects of nature


Hasan: Wah, saya jurusan IPS. Siapa nama namanya?

              Well, I was taking specialization subjects of social science.

              What is his name?

 Sumarni: Namanya Husin. Rasanya dia bilang dia kenal Anda.

               His name is Husin. I think, he said that he knew you.

Hasan: Oh, Husin itu. Iya saya tahu. Kami berlatih silat

bersama. Di mana dia sekarang?

               Oh, I know that Husin.  I know him. We practiced, silat,  

               an Indonesian traditional martial arts together.

Sumarni: Dia di Bandung sekarang.

               He lives in Bandung now.

Hasan: Salam ya buat dia? Ini nomor telepon saya. Tolong minta dia

telepon saya di kantor, ya.

              Please send him my regards. This is my telephone number.

             Please ask him to call me at my office.

Sumarni: Pasti saya sampaikan.

               Sure. I will tell him.

Hasan: Terima kasih. Mari masuk, seminarnya sudah hampir mulai.

              Let’s get inside. The seminar is about to begin.

Sumarni: Mari.

             Let’s go in.



Ask questions in Indonesian!

  1. Where do you study?
  2. When do you start college/university?
  3. When did you graduate (from High School/College/university)?
  4. What year did you graduate (from High School/College/university)?
  5. What specialization of subjects did you take in High School?
  6. What is your major (college/university)?
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About the Author: asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.