This model is closely associated with the model of ‘State control’ (Clark, 1983), in which higher education is seen as an instrument of the State in order to achieve political, economic or social goals. That role is typically upheld by tightly centralized and bureaucratic control over university institutions, with a strong emphasis on accountability to the bureaucratic polity. Change in higher education follows changes in the political leadership. The model corresponds rather well with the Indonesian situation during much of the 1970s and 1980s, when public universities were generally regarded as “service units” of the State. Yet even in those days, centralized steering from high above captured only part of what was really going on down below within these institutions, where some departments, research units and individual faculty started to mind their own business in research and consulting. The major challenge for international assistance within this steering model is to carefully select its recipients in view of a broader strategy in support of institution building, rather than to restrict itself to the development of individual capacities.
(2) The institutional steering model
In an institutional steering model, the institutions have a special responsibility to protect academic values and traditions against the whims of political regimes and/or bureaucratic planning. This model is best exemplified by the close relationship between the bureaucratic State and the old elitist State universities. The role of higher education is to uphold its traditions and its socio-economic and national cultural role, to protect academic freedom, and to store and transmit knowledge, to secure future independent pursuit and transfer of knowledge, to act as a carrier of the (national) culture, and to uphold and protect its special institutional sphere, its ‘civitas academica’ so to speak. In this model, systemic change of higher education comes with historical processes and gradual evolution rather than as a result of intentional reform. In Indonesia, the closely nit relationship between the top leadership of the elite public institutions and the top of State bureaucracies such as DGHE and Bappenas, fits rather well with this model even though this domestic bureaucratic coalition in the early 1990s emerged as a coalition for comprehensive reforms, including institutional autonomy. The challenge for international assistance is support the coalition for reform but at the same time to find ways to broaden the basis of support and the need for major structural and managerial changes within institutions as well as at the center.
(3) The corporate-pluralist steering model
This model challenges the view that the State is a unitary actor with monopoly over power and control. Rather, this ideal type assumes that there are several competing and legitimate centers of authority and control with respect to higher education. The role of higher education reflects the constellation of interests voiced by different organized interest groups in the sector, such as students, staff, employers, professional associations, industry, and – important in the current Indonesian context of political decentralization— regional authorities. In this model, the Ministry of Education becomes just one of the many stakeholders in higher education. Rather than central steering or even supervising, higher education policy making becomes an arena consisting of a complex network of agencies, public and semi-public boards (e.g. in accreditation), financing committees, parliamentary commissions, regional authorities, student associations, political parties etc. According to this model, change in higher education depends on changes in power constellations, organized interests and coalitions. In the post-Suharto era of ‘reformasi’, a new set of players started to become involved in the politics of higher education. Notably, the political decentralization and movement towards increasing autonomy of provinces created new opportunities (for instance, extra sources of income for universities located in resource rich provinces) as well as challenges (for instance, more inequality or more regulations from a greater variety of authorities) for higher education. In addition, the change from an authoritarian bureaucratic polity towards a democratic political system, and the resulting liberalization of Indonesian politics opened up a previously unseen public debate between a broadened set of actors, including political parties, Parliament, students, academics and professional associations (for instance, in view of accreditation systems). Not surprisingly in this changed context, criticism about reforms in higher education that had been initiated during the Suharto era (including the move towards autonomy) are being increasingly articulated in the open, while former domestic and international reformers, ironically, are increasingly under pressure. For international assistance, the challenge becomes to take into account this new environment (i.e. more attention to the legal framework), not to become associated with one actor in particular, and to work within the confines determined by the outcome of the political process.
(4) The supermarket steering model
In this model the role of the State is minimal. In its crude form it assumes that practically all State action and all actions of public providers are less efficient, less effective and/or less just, than the activities of private individuals relating through the market mechanism of supply and demand. The only specific role for public higher education is to deliver services that are not being met by the market (for instance, advanced teaching for basic research, or applied research in areas of national importance). All other services provided by public institutions, such as undergraduate teaching, should in principle be offered only on a full cost recovery basis. Even though Indonesian higher education has traditionally had a thriving private sector of providers, the State has always been keeping a close watch on its development (notably in its regulations concerning accreditation). Furthermore, the bureaucratic State invested heavily and consistently in public provision and funding, even in the current era of campus autonomy. Nonetheless, elements of the market steering model have undeniably been seeping into the Indonesian system as well (e.g. decreasing government funds and ensuing tuition hikes at public institutions, special admission tracks for the rich paying extra high tuition rates at four autonomous institutions in 2004) while critics, both on the left and the right, have blasted reforms towards more campus autonomy as a “…change from State tyranny to market domination” (Heru Nugroho, 2005: 146). The challenge for international assistance in this model is to consider the implications of full or near cost recovery in terms of social inequities and to support coping strategies (e.g. student loan system, scholarships etc.), and to contribute to quality assurance mechanisms in order to safeguard academic work.
II. Relevance to Policy and Practice: (how) Can International Assistance be Made (more) Autonomy Compatible?
In spite of mixed outcomes and results, the dissertation’s major theme seems to contradict those who argue that international assistance can not possibly be an effective instrument for establishing institutional change in higher education. Nonetheless, we should be careful not to generalize glorifying statements about the effectiveness of international assistance, even if we restrict ourselves to the case of higher education. First of all, and most obvious, the case study method is not well suited to formulate generalizations beyond the particular case. Domestic political, economical, financial and even cultural conditions and their historical continuities and discontinuities provided a very specific context for international assistance to work with. Broader generalizations are therefore unwarranted or would require similar case studies at different locations or time periods.
But quite apart from the methodological caveat, the dissertation simply does not support the conclusion that international assistance as such (or ‘per se’) has been an effective change agent in Indonesia’s higher education. Instead, the study explored the specific conditions that made international assistance more (or less) successful in bringing about particular changes in State university relations. In the process, we described donor failures where success was expected or planned (such as the management information systems of the early 1980s, or the IUCs or the student loan plans in the 1980s), as well as successes achieved where they were initially not suspected, let alone planned (for instance, the increasing resource diversification at Indonesian institutions). In other words, the study’s findings can not easily be couched in terms of seeing international assistance to Indonesia’s higher education as an historical success story of social engineering. Instead, the dissertation sought evidence in the specific qualities of the relationship between donor and recipient, and how this relationship changed over time and under changing conditions. Rather than viewing international assistance as a project of modernization or social engineering, the dissertation calls for a perspective of studying international assistance as a mutual learning process190.
Even so, whether and how international assistance can be made more autonomy compatible remain valid questions. Work by David Ellerman, former economic adviser at the World Bank and currently highly critical of the international assistance business, puts these core questions to the fore in his recent book ‘Helping People Help Themselves: From the World Bank to an Alternative Philosophy of Development Assistance’ (Ellerman, 2005). Although this is not the place to dwell on the philosophy of international aid, we did find relevant support in his suggestions with respect to autonomy respecting development aid. Specifically, albeit with modesty, we would conclude that autonomy compatible assistance (in higher education) is more likely under conditions where
international donors build on local frames of reference (structures, but also norms and values) but at the same time seeks to support innovations in what is already there;
donors construct alliances with domestic change agents;
donors and recipients are involved in a long term and mutual engagement;
donors and recipients acknowledge the adage that autonomy can not be imposed;
donors build as much as possible on local knowledge and experiences;
donors and recipients recognize that international assistance is not only about money and technical assistance, but where instead;
donors and recipients learn to appreciate the tacit component in transferring institutional development knowledge by furthering horizontal learning methods, such as study tours, cross-training, twinning arrangements and informal discussion;
donors avoid conditionalities;
donors and recipients collaborate in joint activities, such as evaluations, training courses, study seminars and exchange of services;
Finally, the dissertation supports the perspective that international assistance can better be no longer couched in terms of “helping” and “receiving” only. In effect, both donors studied in our case study have been confronted with their own limitations as an “helping agency”. The Dutch, to begin with, were relatively successful with their academic twinning arrangements but failed to consolidate in terms of management improvements. The World Bank, in contrast, continues to play different roles that are not necessarily always compatible (for instance knowledge Bank vs. financial institution). In addition, its monopolistic tendency in terms of research and knowledge about international higher education (the so-called knowledge bank) may well inhibit its future potential for global knowledge sharing and open learning.
Table 1: List of interviewees
Table 2: Official Development Assistance in Indonesia
Graph 1: Bilateral and Multilateral Assistance
Table 3: Multilateral donor funded projects in higher education in Indonesia1975-1997
Table 4: External Funding of Higher Education by Province, and IBRD share (1980-1995)
Table 5 (a): World Bank Lending for Education, 1963-2005
Table 5 (b): World Bank Lending for Education. New Commitments by Region (1963-2005)
Graph 2: Higher Education Expansion in Indonesia, Enrollments 1971-1998 by Private/Public Sector
Table 6: World Bank Loan Projects with the Directorate General of Higher Education, by Objectives, Costs and Bank Share
Table 7: External Funding of Higher Education Institutions, by Institution and by Share of World Bank and Dutch Assistance (1980-1995)1 Table 8: Budget Structure of Indonesia Public Institutions of Higher Education (1998/99), by Institution (1,000 Rp.)
Table 1: List of Interviewees
Bureau chief education, Bappenas
Muljani A. Nurhadi
Director Bureau of Planning, MOEC
Academic, Universitas Katolik Atma Jaya
Universitas Katolik Atma Jaya
Director General of Higher Education, MOEC
Dean Computer Science, UI and Secretary Autonomy Team, DGHE
Former Director-general DGHE, MOEC; Former Chairman BAN; Former Rector UGM
Former Director Academic Affairs DGHE, MOEC
HED-Budget Officer, MOF
Ministry of Finance
Makin Ibnu Hadjar
Project Director, MOEC
Waworuntu Bob and Maria
Head Bureau Multilateral Economic Cooperation, Bappenas
Rizal Zainuddin Tamin
Vice Rector for Development Planning Administration and Information System, ITB
Secretary of Rector for Strategic and International Cooperation, ITB