“The long road to education for development passes through the development of educational institutions. No one has yet found a short cut or detour.” (Kenneth Thompson, 1976: 25)
Goals are critical analytical tools for the purpose of this dissertation, and this for three different reasons. First, as intentional outcomes goals serve as guideposts or standards by which actions – or ‘projects’ in the assistance jargon — are judged internally as a well as externally. The multitude of evaluation and supervision reports generated by the two selected donor agencies in this study provides some (quantitative) evidence in support of such observation. Secondly, given their international nature, assistance goals require mediation, translation or otherwise negotiation in the domestic environment of the recipient country. The nature and extent of goal receptivity, compatibility (Levine, 1980), or degree of the congruence with the goals, norms of the host are therefore among the key criteria to estimate the effectiveness of pursued changes (Cerych & Sabatier, 1986). Finally, as self-imposed constraints goals not only provide signposts of what assistance agencies effectively pursue, but at the same time are indicative of what they do not aspire for (any more). And even if the resulting sense of priority is far from perfect, as often happens when organizations are known to be generously ambitious (Packenham, 1973), these goals will be instrumental in identifying the changing ideology of international assistance, specifically regarding the role of the State in higher education.
In spite of all its merits, social scientists nonetheless have pointed to the problematical nature of goal analysis, especially regarding social phenomena that lack empirical definition, are conceptually ambiguous, or both. As a generic term ‘international assistance’ seems to fit the two qualifications. But even limiting the focus of attention more narrowly to the study of selected organizations and types of international assistance –as intended in this study—doesn’t settle the problematical nature of goals. To start with, organizational goals are not always explicitly stated –or only poorly so— and often need to be derived from ‘operative goals’ that provide indication of what the organization is actually trying to accomplish, “regardless of what the official goals say are the aims” (Perrow, 1961). Furthermore, organizations generally have multiple, often incompatible and sometimes even conflicting goals, which all face a multitude of external constraints. Goals can also be ambiguous as they reflect compromises among competing perspectives both within and across organizations and the units within them. Finally, goals change over time in response to changing tasks, circumstances, needs, and constituencies (Hall, 1996). An analysis of past assistance goals that uses concepts that are now in vogue therefore runs the risk of failing to appreciate the particularities of the historical context in which goals are formulated and re-formulated.
The general approach taken in this chapter is to study goals of the two selected assistance agencies from a historical-institutional perspective. For each of the two donors, the discussion opens with a brief review of the origins and developments of assistance goals in relation to higher education development (in Indonesia). This review not only offers essential context to understanding the goal-setting behavior of the two donors, but also renders a preview of their respective views on the position of higher education institutions vis-à-vis society in general, and in relation to government more specifically. Before we move into the analysis, however, it will be instructive to point at the differences in scale and scope between these two donors. Apart from apparent differences in the size of the donor investments – to be further quantified in the chapter on donor efforts — these differences also determined the nature and scope of activities in which donors engaged themselves.
While primarily based on document analysis, I have further substantiated the discussion with information from interviews with former participants. The following sections – again by donor — discuss how these goals responded to the domestic policy environment of State-university relations in Indonesia –and how not—and goes on to identify in what ways they have suggested or otherwise implied a changing role for government or institutions. Case studies of specific projects are presented throughout in order to illustrate in what ways these have suggested what type of role for government and institutions respectively.
I. Dutch Assistance in Higher Education
From 1969 up to 1992, when all development cooperation with Indonesia was abruptly ended, Dutch assistance to Indonesian higher education was a prominent part of the general policy framework of Dutch development cooperation in higher education. The historical overview of that framework here must be selective although endnotes will provide further references where needed. The section then discusses the major policy goals of Dutch assistance in higher education – focusing on what respective roles they suggest for governments and institutions –, and goes on to review how these goals played out in the Indonesian context of State-university relations.
Originating historically from initiatives by Dutch universities –only later followed by official development aid policies— assistance in higher education up to this day provides the overall context for what now would be labeled as a ‘decentralized’ form of international assistance, predominantly involving institution-to-institution links between universities. While these inter-institutional linkage schemes at first sight may not appear to have any direct bearing on the relationship between the overseas institutions and their respective government, their goal (i.e. ’institution-building’) and vehicle (i.e. ‘decentralized linkages’) at least implicitly suggest broad parallels with the theme of this dissertation. After briefly sketching the origins and resultant structural features of Dutch assistance programs in higher education in general, the ensuing sections will explore these parallels in greater detail on the basis of the Indonesian case.
1. Modest beginnings
Dutch assistance to higher education in developing countries originated in the multitude of informal contacts that grew after the second World War between academics in the Netherlands and students from overseas, many of whom from Indonesia. Often these personal contacts would develop into small projects to support specific departments or laboratories at overseas institutions, and initially at least these were typically financed entirely from the university’s own budget. Dutch universities in 1967 jointly committed themselves to spend 5% of their regular budget to such development assistance initiatives. They also established the NUFFIC26 as a forum to promote and coordinate their activities in that area, to exchange information, and to respond to changes in official Dutch aid policy that were being introduced around that time.
Notably, the 1966 Dutch policy paper on development aid had recognized the need for a more critical reflection of grants awarded to study programs for overseas students in the Netherlands27, and seemed instead to suggest a shift of emphasis involving support to institutions in developing countries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1992). The official Dutch support to higher education institutions in developing countries initially took the form of grants to fund attendance at courses locally, but as an extension of that policy soon also came to include cooperation schemes between Dutch universities and counterpart institutions overseas. The Minister for Development Cooperation in 1969 established a special Program for University Development Cooperation (PUO-I), which was to provide funds from the development cooperation budget to support university projects in developing countries28. The goal of the program was to “improve the academic infrastructure for scientific practice in developing countries by putting at their disposal the knowledge and expertise of the Dutch universities” (Ruijter, 1993). The program, which offered a general framework for cooperation between Dutch universities and universities overseas, was operational from 1970 to 1976 and during that time involved aid expenditures close to 30 million guilders ($13.2 million at the current rate), 40% of which was invested in university linkages with Indonesian institutions (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 1977). Staff development was a prominent feature of the program, and generally took the form of Dutch academics being placed at the disposal of the counterpart-university overseas to replace local staff while away for advanced degree training in the Netherlands or elsewhere.
Although goal formulation has changed emphasis and wording over the years, as will be elaborated in the next section, the early linkage program reflects rather well some of the structural features of Dutch higher education assistance for years to come. Specifically, these include:
The preference for discreet investments in partnerships and arrangements with no explicit reference to the policy framework of Indonesian higher education;
The prominent emphasis on the university sector, rather than other forms of higher education, has affected not only the selection of institutions –in the Netherlands as well as overseas— but also the type of activities undertaken (i.e. focus on academic subject areas)29;
The strong reliance on the use of direct inter-institutional cooperation between universities in the Netherlands and overseas partner-institutions–typically involving a plurality of institutions at the Dutch side— remains the defining characteristic of the Dutch strategy to strengthen university institutions in developing countries30;
…and the resulting organizational complexity of the assistance program management and decision-making structure, involving a great number of organizations and committees at different levels of program design and implementation31;
Strong emphasis on the use of human resources rather than on physical infrastructure32;
The close involvement of Dutch academic units in the design and implementation of assistance policies and programs33;
A strong orientation towards academic work (i.e. staff and curriculum development, research projects, fellowships) at the institutions overseas, with little or no direct involvement with management or other internal organizational matters at the partner institution.
In sum, these structural features of Dutch university development assistance provide the general context in which assistance to Indonesian higher education took shape. Table 1.1 lists the major policy documents regarding Dutch development cooperation in education since 1969 (left-hand column), and identifies the corresponding programs in higher education development assistance (right-hand column). Its purpose is to provide the general picture and historical time frame of Dutch formal policy and programs in higher education. The discussion that follows, however, will gradually zoom in on goals and their implementation in relation to Indonesia specifically.
Table 1.1: Overview of Dutch policy documents and higher education programs
Dutch Policy Documents Policy paper on aid to less developed countries (1966)
Policy paper on bilateral development cooperation (1976)
Policy paper on review of bilateral development cooperation (1984)
Sector program for training, education and research (1986)
Development cooperation and education in the 1990s (1992)
Higher Education Assistance Programs
Program for University Development Cooperation (PUO-1), 1969-1976
Study in the Region (SIR), 1969-1986
Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP), 1960s-
Program for University Development Cooperation (PUO-II), 1977-1988
Program for International Education Projects (IOP), 1977-1988
Inter-institutional Cooperation Program (SV), 1988-1992
Direct Support to Training Institutions in Developing Countries Program (DSO), 1988-
Joint Financing Program for Cooperation in Higher Education (MHO)
Program of Cooperation with Institutions providing International Education (SIO), in turn consisting of International Education Projects (IOP), and Training in the Netherlands (NFP)
Direct Support to Training Institutions in Developing Countries (DSO)
2. Growing Ambitions: Institution Building and National Development
At the level of formally declared policy intentions, the further development of Dutch higher education assistance since the mid-1970s has been marked by the emerging goal of ‘institution-building’, and the various interpretations thereof by successive policy makers and stakeholders. The major phases of that process are represented schematically in table 1.2, which summarizes overall policy goals and rationales for Dutch higher education assistance programs over the years, and includes basic features pertaining to their implementation in Indonesia. Suggested time periods are indicative only, as they correspond with the introduction of official policy changes more than with actual implementation or funding schedules, which in practice involved some degree of overlap between successive phases.
2.1 The Development University
The goal of ‘institution-building’ was introduced into Dutch policy vocabulary in 1975-76, and at the time seemed a rather loosely defined rally point around which otherwise divergent positions within the Netherlands could be accommodated (p.c. Brinkman). While the intricacies of this mostly internal Dutch debate should not here derail us, the sometimes varying rationales would have immediate bearing not only on the way in which the Dutch would shape their higher education assistance, but importantly also on the respective roles of government and institutions implied therein. To the minister of development cooperation Jan Pronk34, ‘institution-building’ in higher education was part of a broader aid policy agenda in which the ‘self-reliance’ of the developing world and ‘the combat against poverty’ had been made strategic cornerstones (Cf. policy paper on bilateral development cooperation, 1976). Pronk’s policy framework –well-ingrained in the development paradigm then holding sway internationally— suggested that higher education assistance should be instrumental in making ‘Third World’ societies less dependent on the ‘North’, and in promoting a distinctive and (more) practical role for universities in the task of national development. These themes in turn seemed right in step with the ideal of a ‘development university’; a concept that at the time also had won increasing recognition at several donor headquarters35, and emphasized the social responsibility and role of the university in developing countries.
2.2 University Development
On the basis of its experience with the management of the then on-going linkage program, the NUFFIC on its part already had suggested a number of policy changes to increase the efficiency and institutional impact of the linkage formula (NUFFIC, 1975). Specifically, it was realized that the intense ‘scatterization’ of resources across large numbers of small projects and partner institutions –often based largely on individual contacts— had not been conducive to either overall program efficiency or significant impact overseas. Instead, the proposals called for a transformation of the program into one consisting of a much more limited number of long-term linkages with overseas universities, and based on broad institutional commitments of all the institutions involved. Apart from the efficiency considerations that inspired some of these proposals, the NUFFIC also intended the linkage program to become more responsive to institutional development needs of counterpart universities in the developing countries. The expectation was in fact that the suggested long-term partnerships would facilitate expanding the scope of the earlier linkages beyond ‘mere’ academic collaboration to include assistance in building up the partner-university’s own capacity more broadly speaking, or, put differently, to support “university development” in developing countries (NUFFIC, 1984). Pronk embraced the NUFFIC proposals and in 1976 agreed to support the establishment of the PUO ‘New Style’. The policy changes were motivated in Dutch parliament on the basis of their expected contribution to the strategy of ‘national self-reliance’, specifically noting that they would “support the planning and development of education systems in the developing countries, the improvement of educational methods, and the organization of educational administration” (cited in Ruiter, 1993: 16). The definition differed from the earlier link program in its broad reference to ‘education systems’ (rather than narrowly on “scientific practice”), and its explicit inclusion of non-academic aspects of institutional development (i.e. planning, educational administration).
Table 1.2: Dutch assistance goals
Goals To improve scientific practice at universities in developing countries (dc)
To support academic links with institutions overseas (operative goal)
To train students from dc in country of origin or in the region (cf. local/regional scholarship program, SIR)
Increasing ‘self-reliance’ of dc, and combating poverty within dc, become the major policy goals of Dutch aid. In higher education, the stated goals are to:
- strengthen education and research institutions in dc (‘institution-building’ as the general, unspecified policy orientation);
- gradually transfer international training courses from The Netherlands to dc (cf. IOP)
To expand and to improve dc’s human resources, and to generate innovative knowledge and technology in and for these countries. Specific goals are:
- to strengthen capacity of institutions in dc (‘institution-building’)
- research and development
To build on Dutch comparative strengths and existing social demands in The Netherlands for direct cooperation with non- or semi-governmental partner organizations overseas.
Rationales / strategies
Cooperation between academic institutions is promoted as key assistance strategy on the basis of: assumed relevance to dc needs, greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and responsiveness to mission of Dutch institutions.
‘Broad-based’ (i.e. covering a wide range of subjects) linkage projects with a limited number of overseas institutions are seen as an instrument in a long term strategy of ‘institution-building’;
In principle, the ‘new style’ linkage formula suggested both academic and non-academic areas of activity (e.g. institutional management, support services…).
Strategy of supporting targeted interventions (i.e. projects) at unit or department levels, and limited in time (i.e. 4 years) in order to ensure accountability to donor;
Concern to make education aid activities more coherent and consistent with Dutch aid policy goals at the country level;
As to types of institutions, the program is not restricted to education institutions, but also targets public or semi-public service agencies, and professional associations;
Main features of the program in Indonesia
Heavily concentrated on Indonesia (40% of budget), but consisting of many small projects scattered across the country and across universities;
Long term (10 to 15 years) and wide-ranging (i.e. across disciplines and fields) linkage agreements with 3 selected State universities. Typically, several Dutch institutions participate in each.
- linkages as umbrella agreement for projects with departments/units within the partner institution
- in practice, linkages continue to be focused on academic work (i.e. staff development, curriculum development). In areas of institutional policy and management, partners instead pursue approach of ‘mutual non-interference’ (P.c. Veenkamp).
The number of SV-projects varies from 27 to 30, spread over 15 institutions and agencies. On average, 25% of linkage budget is spent on links with Indonesia
- projects carried over from earlier programs figure prominently –both on project lists and budget wise- but are administered and financed as separate units
- on the Dutch side, participation of non-university institutions increases
- on the Indonesian side, stronger involvement of government agencies (typically service unit within line ministry)
- all on-going projects are stopped prematurely in April 1992 as a result of Suharto’s decision to cancel further aid from the Netherlands
2.3 Conceptual Distinctions
In reality, the new linkage policy –and notably the underlying definitions of ‘institution-building’— suggested a delicate balance between essentially different conceptualizations of the respective roles of educational institutions and the State36. On the one hand, the emphasis on making linkages responsive to institutional needs –now at least potentially also including non-academic needs— of the targeted universities in principle seemed to indicate a commitment to and respect for the institutional autonomy of the partner institutions. As will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter, the inter-institutional linkage agreements indeed often presupposed a certain degree of autonomy on the part of these institutions, if only consisting of the authority to enter into contractual relations with overseas universities and/or funding agencies37.
On the other hand, the donor’s concern with promoting the role of the university in national development suggested ever-greater closeness (e.g. by co-optation of personnel, or through government service schemes), accountability, and even commitment to the State, which under the political circumstances of the time was the main carrier of ‘national development’ in many countries, notably including Indonesia. In other words, as a strategy of institution building in higher education, the developmental concerns emphasized the universities’ responsiveness to the State more than the autonomous development of their basic teaching and research functions. Or, as one informant remarked, “’Institution-building’ in those days was predominantly seen as ‘State-building’” (p.c. Brinkman). This assessment at first sight appears to run counter to this study’s overall theme suggesting that international donor agencies were promoting institutional autonomy. Nonetheless, the idea of supporting strong State institutions and/or capacity needs not necessarily be incompatible with the goal of strengthening universities. Instead, and congruent with the “continental mode” (Clark, 1983) in which Dutch higher education themselves are used to operate, the more likely expectation was that the assisted university would use their fortified expertise to accomplish goals of national development, for instance by training leaders, providing technical advice etc. And such an expectation not only resonates well with the then dominant ‘State-control model’, which recognizes the power of professional and professorial expertise but leaves little room for autonomy at the central institutional level. It also befits the now widely advocated ‘State supervision’ model that pushes for increased institutional decision making powers.
2.4 Operative Donor Goals in Indonesia: Selecting Institutions and Fields
The subtle conceptual nuances between those goals pertaining to ‘university development’ and those furthering ‘development universities’ can only be fully appreciated when considering effective program implementation, where actual choices were made about which countries and institutions to support, at what level, and in what particular fields. In that connection, the program’s features in Indonesia suggest a strong impact of criteria of national development relevance in the initial phases of selecting institutions and fields, but much less in the actual planning and implementation of the linkages, where activities continued to be concentrated heavily on more traditional – and indeed much-needed — academic ‘upgrading’ and staff development. Table 1.3 summarizes some of these features, indicating the Indonesian institutions selected in the program, and listing the ‘fields’ (projects) within each.