At the conceptual level, imposed autonomy is an oxymoron. At the level of policy practice, however, we need to consider the structural complexity of the donor – recipient relationship in order to empirically assess the interplay between imposition (in its varying degrees) and consultation (again in its varying degrees). This relationship was in many ways different for the World Bank than it was for Dutch bilateral assistance.
Dutch assistance started from an uneasy postcolonial situation, which left the donor not much latitude for manoeuvring into policy or even management oriented actions in higher education. Throughout the period reported, Dutch assistance balanced a thin line between awareness of Indonesian sensitivities to patronizing tendencies on the one hand, and active involvement in institution building on the other. In higher education, this resulted in discreet investments in academic linkages and scientific collaboration between individual scholars and institutions with little direct attention to the process of institutional management development at the Indonesian university. The development, management and implementation of the Dutch program for university development cooperation (the so-called PUO program, see chapter 2) were decentralized to the Dutch universities and the Netherlands Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC). Choices with regard to the selection of Indonesian institutions in the program, or the specific areas of assistance, more often than not were founded on the interests of individual scholars in the Netherlans consulting with counterparts in Indonesia.
Still, and typical for the Dutch model of consensus decision-making (the so-called ‘polder model’), the outcome of the decision making process represented a mixture of influences and consultations with various stakeholders, including the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation, experts at NUFFIC, the Ministry of Education in Jakarta, the Ministry of Planning (Bappenas), students at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Dutch academics, Indonesian academics, the Rectors of the selected public institutions, and even some Indonesian PhD students pleading with their Dutch supervisors for assistance in pursuing their academic work at home institutions in Indonesia. The process involved an enormous amount of consultations and mutual influences, often implicitly, taking into account the alleged expectations of several stakeholders at the same time. Box 4.1 illustrates how this process worked with regard to the selection of the University of Gaja Madah as partner institution and the setting of priorities in the PUO program. The model suggests a balanced mix of consultation and imposition (‘give and take’) that allowed Dutch assistance to gradually build up credibility on the academic work floor. It started from a shared scholarly interest and gradually built up trust in the selected departments and faculties the projects were implemented. Institutional management development was not a direct focus of the collaboration: the Dutch did not participate in management decisions at the Indonesian university, and explicitly steered away from management development. Asked why this was the case, key informants indicated that their idea of institutional management development was very much context bound. As one source told “we lacked the self confidence to assume that the Dutch system of institutional management, which at the time was already relatively well developed at Dutch institutions, could be transferred to the Javanese cultural context. The cultural barriers and the perceived sensitivities to neocolonial attitudes did the rest”.
Box 4.1 The ‘polder model’ at work in Dutch assistance to Gaja Madah University (based on interviews with Theo Veenkam, Harry Brinkman, and PUO evaluation reports)
The general framework of the PUO program was spelt out in 1976 by the then Minister for Development Cooperation, Jan Pronk, who expected the program to contribute to the broader socio-economic development and self-reliance of the country, with first priority to the needs of the poorest population groups. NUFFIC wanted the collaboration to promote interdisciplinary approaches in an effort to integrate and broaden existing individualized links between academics in the Netherlands and Indonesia. Meanwhile, many students in the Netherlands were actively protesting against cooperation with Indonesia because of its authoritarian regime, its corruption and disrespect for human rights.
In Indonesia, the ministry of education signaled that assistance would be especially welcomed for its State universities. From consultations with some of these institutions, it was becoming apparent that the official criteria (focus on the poor) somehow would clash with their expectations as they were seeking academic support for the development of basic sciences. The focus on the poor, furthermore, was regarded by many Indonesians as a ‘rather paternalistic condition’ of the PUO Program (Evaluation Report, December 1982: 14). Instead, Indonesian institutions were confronted with tremendous needs for professional staff development and PhD trained lecturers in basic subject areas such as chemistry, physics, and geology. At about the same time, young Indonesian PhD students in the Netherlands convincingly pleaded with their supervisors for Dutch investments in laboratories that would enable them and their colleagues to continue research and improve their teaching in basic sciences. The Free University of Amsterdam (VU) was at the crux of all these different demands and expectations. Its bureau for external relations was well established in those years and the institution had a history of collaboration with Indonesian universities. The VU was appointed to coordinate the PUO program with the Gaja Madah University. The choice for Gaha Madah University was inspired by the expectation that the Indonesian government would certainly appreciate the Dutch decision to restrict its official assistance to State institutions159. The Gaja Madah University, moreover, had symbolic meaning to the Indonesian nation, it was Javanese but at the same time was assigned a supporting role vis-à-vis outer regions (so-called Pembina status). At the same time, the decision not to select an institution in Jakarta was to appease Dutch students complaining about systemic corruption in the Indonesian capital. The content of the program, in turn, clearly reflected a compromise between the expectations of the different stakeholders. The program consisted of two sub-programs, each involving several individual sub-projects. The Dutch Minister’s criteria (focus on the poor) and NUFFIC concern with interdisciplinary approaches translated into a sub-program called ‘integrated rural development’, whereas the other sub-program (basic sciences) responded to the most urgent academic needs of the Indonesian institutions. One informant confided that the Indonesian side at the time was generally not impressed with the IRD approach but still complied since it went along with the other sub-program (basic sciences), which in their eyes was better attuned to their institution’s needs.
In sum, the outcome of Dutch assistance in terms of institutional development can best be analyzed in relation to what Clark calls the enacting conditions for university development. Specifically, these include the establishment of the academic infrastructure, the labs and buildings, the research facilities, but also the development of curricula and human resources at selected faculties and institutions. In the next section, I will further explore these product outcomes in relation to the institutional autonomy of Indonesia’s State universities. At this stage, my purpose is to show how the decision-making process of Dutch assistance in higher education in the period 1976 to 1992 overall reflected a careful balance between consultation and imposition, typical of the so-called Dutch polder model. This balance was disturbed fundamentally when the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation in 1992 decided to make further aid to Indonesia dependent on political conditions in respect to human rights and democratic development. As a result, the then Indonesian President, Suharto, decided to stop all international assistance programs from the Netherlands, including those in higher education. Dutch academic staff in Indonesia was instructed to leave the country, Indonesian Master students in the Netherlands were allowed to finish their study program, but some PhD students were sent back to Indonesia without degree. Even the academics that had been hired to work for official assistance programs were not welcome for a while.
The Dutch experience was in many ways different from the World Bank’s. Officially, the Bank also explicitly refrained from imposition in its assistance programs in Indonesian higher education (p.c. Samuel Lieberman). Atypical even for the Bank’s own policies during much of the 1980, it stayed away from conditional lending which in those days was common practice for its loans elsewhere. An internal memo from the early 1990s, specifically reporting on the desirability of higher education reforms, including a call for more financial autonomy for institutions, suggested that “the mission does not recommend an approach of taking these conditions as ‘conditions for this or that’. The mission also explicitly stayed away from ‘recommending a reform’, partly because Indonesia has its own rhythm and clock in terms of introducing changes, which tend to take place incrementally. With a well articulated long term strategy, incremental changes will be actually advisable.” (BTO, 1994)
Unlike the Dutch, the Bank from the early beginnings of its higher education lending operations in the late 1970s explicitly addressed the broader policy framework for higher education development. As reported in chapter 3, its consultation process specifically targeted government agencies such as DGHE and BAPPENAS, Ministers of Education, Planning and Finance, Rectors of State universities. Nonetheless, and in spite of its structural significance in the nation’s budget for higher education, the process of consultation left plenty of room for individual agency. The continuity of specialized Bank staff involved in the consultation process and the presence of that staff in Jakarta were crucial elements for the Bank to be able to establish the required rapport with counterparts in government. The physical presence of the Bank’s Jakarta office in Jakarta, in the early years strategically located within the BAPPENAS offices, helped create an atmosphere conducive to regular and close consultations between government and Bank officials.
The process of mutual consultations helps explain the Bank’s strong and progressively growing involvement with the development of Indonesia’s State universities. Rectors and former rectors and vice rectors of State institutions, specifically the elite institutions, figured prominently within the government bureaucracy as their institutions were legally considered ‘State agencies’. Moreover, top jobs within the bureaucracy still are typically assigned to people recruited from the leaders of State institutions (including the Director General of DGHE). A least in the early years, the process of regular consultations with the State bureaucracy also helps to explain the massive investments in the physical infrastructure of public higher education (up to the point of financially contributing to the establishment of new types of institutions) and the initial focus on centralized planning mechanisms for higher education. At the time (mid to late 1970s), the Bank was eager to support the development of human resources in Indonesia and basically trusted the bureaucrats/academics to be able to manage the investments. There was no blueprint for the management of institutional development and very little explicit concern for the autonomy of State institutions.
The idea of institutional autonomy came to the fore much later and was put on the agenda both by bureaucrats/academics (rectors and former rectors or administrators turned bureaucrats) who very well understood the need for institutions to be able to manage their extra budgetary revenues autonomously, and by Bank staff who increasingly came to realize the shortcomings of a top down strategy for the implementation of its investment projects in higher education. From the mid- to late 1980s, this coalition of stakeholders starts to inform policy makers at both ends.
2. The embedded – isolation dimension
As indicated in the previous section, the Dutch niche in terms of institutional development was clearly on supporting the academic infrastructure of the State institutions, in particular with regard to staff development (i.e. upgrading the academic level of the teachers) and research collaboration. The positive outcome of these investments was that in selected faculties and departments at selected institutions, pockets of well-equipped research and well-trained teachers started to emerge. At the same time, these activities and results risked to be isolated from the broader institutional policy context of the universities that received Dutch support (p.c. Harry Brinkman). Notably, the increased level of differentiation between those individuals or departments who received assistance and those who did not effectively created friction within these institutions which the Dutch were well aware of, but did not explicitly attend to (p.c. Theo Veenkamp). Dutch personnel did not participate in management meetings at department or faculty level. Still, their presence as such introduced management discussions which at the time (late 1970s to early 1980s) were relatively new to the Indonesian way of governing universities.
First, regarding the distribution of funds, the tradition was one of across the board funding. Dutch assistance, through its selectivity within institutions, challenged this view and introduced competitive elements to ‘the academic work floor’ (Clark, 1998: 232). However, it was not in a position to ensure that management decisions would effectively support such competitive mechanisms, as pressures to standardize or even to re-equalize the distribution of funds were very common160. Secondly, with regard to HRM, Dutch assistance, which set out to attract the best and the brightest for further graduate training in the Netherlands (or elsewhere), in effect supported the idea to base incentives and academic career prospects on academic merit, in the process at least implicitly challenging the seniority based system of remuneration and promotion typical of the Indonesian civil service161. More sensitive still, were decisions related to the appointment of Indonesian staff participating in the project, and the counterpart allowances they were to receive. Again, the question was to what extent the Dean’s decision would be based on seniority or academic merit (p.c. Theo Veenkamp).
Finding the right balance between complete isolation and embedded management was one of the more challenging aspects of Dutch assistance to higher education in Indonesia. Apart from the observation that Dutch assistance did not specifically aim for management reform, there simply was no formal mechanism to address issues of financial management or HRM at the institutional level. Dutch influence in these areas usually ran along informal lines (e.g. occasional talks between Rectors, lobbying of Dutch coordinator) and often depended on a solid understanding between the Dutch and Indonesian academic co-coordinators (p.c. Theo Veenkamp).
The Bank, on the other hand, had different issues to deal with, resulting in great part from it being traditionally and firmly enmeshed in Indonesia’s political economy in general and specifically in its system of planning higher education from the centralized levels of decision making at DGHE and BAPPENAS. During much of the 1980s, the Bank had great confidence in the Indonesian government’s capacity to put money to good use. From the late 1970s throughout much of the 1980s, it had invested massively (at times with sector wide loans) in infrastructure, central planning and management, before coming to the sobering discovery in the early 1990s that their investments lacked significant results on the ground. Notably, there was growing concern with the outcome and sustainability of the Inter University Centers (IUC), the efficacy of the Bank supported management information system (MIS) was being questioned, and the position of the IUC’s and Polytechnics had become a topic of debate as to their integration or continued differentiation from the mainstream (p.c. Sachi Takeda). One Bank source confided that “in spite of all the earlier investments, the problem was that we didn’t really know what was going on inside these institutions, whether and to what extent learning was really taking place” (p.c. Sachi Takeda). Incidentally, the increase of concerns went along with key staff changes within the Bank, both at the Jakarta Office and at HQ in Washington DC.
The emergence of the new round of project consultations in 1992/93 laid bare the different concerns of the GOI and of the Bank. Whereas the government at the time was mainly worried about a steady flow of funds and insisted on broad institutional coverage in the form of a third sector wide loan, Bank staff was eager to introduce new mechanisms in which ultimate beneficiaries (i.e. students and teachers) would have a larger share. For the Bank, the concern in those days was more with project sustainability than with autonomy per se. Even though preference for increasing autonomy was mentioned in several of the initial project documents and dialogues, the Bank did not want to get explicitly involved in domestic policy too much (there was little expertise within the Bank regarding the domestic legalities) and instead focused on technically manageable approaches (e.g. setting up a competitive funding scheme, quality assurance procedures and indicators…). Implicitly, though, many of these approaches very much so hooked on to the Bank’s then emerging global agenda of institutional diversification, institutional autonomy and a different role for the State in managing and ensuring quality in public higher education (World Bank, 1994). At the same time, the broadened process of project negotiations (often including individual academic units, teachers and students) helped ensure that new mechanisms were grounded in locally embedded realities and actual needs at the academic work floor.
The transition from the sector wide HEDP loans to the more targeted series of URGE, DUE and QUE loans (see chapters 2 and 3) in the mid 1990s effectively marked a significant departure in the Bank’s approach in lending for higher education in Indonesia. There are many ways to describe the change (i.e. from supply to demand or from top-down to bottom-up), but they all indicated fundamental alterations in the roles of State and institutions respectively. ‘Evaluation’ and ‘quality assurance’ were becoming core concepts in the design of new projects. Many of the mechanisms (e.g. self-evaluations, peer validation), structures (e.g. accreditation) and procedures (e.g. competitive funding) were not entirely new to Indonesia, as they were resolutely built upon local variations and practices. What changed, however, was that they gradually became a systemic part of Indonesia’s public higher education funding. Notably, competitive grant schemes already appeared in other government supported funding programs (e.g. for research funding in the so-called ‘hibah bersaing’), some of which supported with Bank loans (e.g. the accelerated engineering program under HEDPII). However, in the projects new style –or better, the New Paradigm— merit-based162 competition became the dominant principle in selecting proposals, and extended it to other areas (not only graduate education as in URGE, but also undergraduate higher education as in DUE and QUE) and institutions (including the institutions with regional focus far away from Java).
Bank staff involved in project negotiations picked up local ideas or practices that resonated well with the Bank’s emerging international agenda, and integrated them into project documents. As one participant admitted “the so-called Bank dialogue with the GOI in higher education usually meant that we dropped an idea or let them know about our criticisms or concerns about things not working, and as soon as this fell on a willing ear, we would jump on it (as with the idea of competitive grants, or the notion of peer reviews and ‘self evaluations’” (p.c. Sachi Takeda). The degree of success varied with the strength of the alliances the Bank was able to forge with the main stakeholders within the government bureaucracy. For instance, when BAPPENAS during URGE talks suggested opening competition for grants in principle to all institutions and study programs, this paved the way for the Bank to press for openness to beneficiaries from private institutions as well163. Similarly, the mechanism of requesting institutions to submit ‘institutional self-evaluations’ as a first step in the review process to be selected as beneficiary in the Bank funded projects, or the L-RAISE set of criteria (Leadership, Relevance, Academic atmosphere, Internal management, Sustainability, Efficiency and productivity), did have domestic roots as these instruments had been developed within the Directorate of Academic Affairs in the DGHE.
In sum, from the early 1990s onwards, the Bank, while remaining firmly embedded in the broader political economy of Indonesia’s higher education, started to seek new ways to redefine and at the same time strengthen the role of the State in its capacity to organize merit-based evaluations and funding mechanisms. In doing so, it helped putting institutional autonomy high on the agenda in at least two different ways. First, by promoting and giving meat to the ‘evaluative State’ (i.e. the establishment of central board of accreditation, and a board of higher education to oversee and steer the work at the central level) the Bank was able to continue its close alliance with key stakeholders at the center (i.e. within DHGE and BAPPENAS in particular), many of whom had been keen promoters of the idea of increasing the (financial) autonomy of State institutions. Secondly, and this was new for the Bank, the design of the new generation of Bank projects introduced mechanisms and criteria that had a direct impact on the way institutions organized their business. Increasingly, the Bank started to include the institutional level and the level of the departmental unit into its operations and analysis.
3. The incremental – revolutionary (shock therapy) dimension
In principle, and not taking into account disaster relief, international assistance carries forward an ever optimistic promise as to the possibilities of institutional change in the short to medium term. Kreiner (1984) found a solid explanation for this broad observation in the political / organizational set-up of international assistance, which is such that that donors at regular times, either directly (as for the bilateral donors) or indirectly (for international organisations), are held accountable to their supporting governments and voting public respectively. In practice, however, analysts observed that international assistance in itself has become a long term promise, of which many have argued it has profoundly failed to deliver even in the longer run. Regardless of the position one takes, the question of how the process of international assistance was timed and progressed over a number of years, intentionally or not, will influence the assessment of its contribution to the institutional changes advocated.
Regarding the promise of institutional reforms in the relationship between the Indonesian State and its public universities, the outlook on time of the World Bank’s operations in retrospect was surprisingly long-term (over two decades), while progression and sequencing of operations overall continued the gradual path of ‘muddling through’ or, more positively put, continuously learning from past mistakes and always on a step-by-step basis.
Agreed, this is a broad assessment, but one that stands out and, more importantly as we will see later on, one that does not appear to downplay some of the more structural outcomes that have been realized (see next section). Agreed also, it is an assessment that does not, at least not at first sight, recognize the then existing diversity of opinions within the World Bank on the issues of strategy and tactics in either pushing or pulling for desired policy changes. These differences of opinion effectively existed, and especially so at the crucial moments of negotiating new project loans. As one participant in the URGE preparatory talks admitted: “The Bank is not to be seen as a monolith, it allowed a great deal of incrementalism, there was a lot of resistance and conflict within; with some wanting to push hard for policy reforms as condition for additional lending, others favoring a more gradual approach vis-à-vis the numerous institutional constraints” (p.c. Sachi Takeda). However, in spite of all the internal discussions, the 20 years of Bank lending to Indonesian higher education clearly show that the ‘gradualists’ generally won out from the ‘conditionalists’ seeking immediate reforms through the “shock therapy” of conditional lending.164
Moreover, the World Bank in the late 1970s did not have a “grand strategy” to alter the relationship between the Indonesian State and its public universities in view of increased financial autonomy and accountability of institutions, or, more general, to decentralize decision making within the higher education system. Instead, the Bank in those days seemed more concerned about the lack of management information and monitoring capacities at the central level (cf. supra, in chapter 2). The initial Bank loans invested firmly in physical infrastructure of new (Polytechnics) or selected (UDPI and II) institutions, but also in central planning capacities and Management Information Systems at the DGHE. Also the tendency in the 1980s to load all aspects of sub-sector improvement into consecutive time slice loans lacked a grand design or master plan, even though institutional autonomy started to be included as an ever returning buzzword in project preparation documents. As discussed in the previous section, the limitations of this comprehensive sector wide approach came to the surface in the 1990s and led the Bank to revise its lending strategy along the lines of the emerging new paradigm, with its dual focus on evaluation capacity at the State level and attention to management capacities and decentralized planning at the institutional level.
With hindsight one might conclude that there was really no discontinuity or rupture between these consecutive phases, as many informants claimed. In the early 1990s it did effectively “make sense” for the Bank to change its involvement with Indonesian higher education towards a policy framework suggesting a changed, more evaluative role for the State, and increased autonomy and accountability at the institutional level. But such an analysis suggests a linear and rational policy model of sequencing operations over a period of two decades, for which I have found no concrete or document based evidence. Rather, therefore, we suggest analyzing the Bank’s history of lending for higher education development in Indonesia in terms of ‘one thing (or, approach) leading to another’: the Bank provided space (and money) to explore and to experiment with a variety of approaches, attempting to learn from past failures and mistakes, and introducing new ideas, approaches and improvements. Over time, the analysis then comes close to the classification as “muddling through” (Lindblom). More than anything else, then, the introduction of market dynamics in higher education, which definitely remained a constant element of the Bank’s broader political and economic agenda, took time. International donors, such as the World Bank, contributed by bringing new ideas at the table, gradually assisting in the build up of physical infrastructure and human capacities.
As for the Dutch, the initial time perspective of their program for university development was summarized to me as follows: “four years of preparing, four years of investments in academic results, and four years to prepare the end of the intervention and ensure sustainability” (p.c. Harry Brinkman). My informant quickly added that such this timing appeared to him as unrealistic and foolishly optimistic in light of the academic, the financial and the cultural context of Indonesia’s State universities at the time. As reported elsewhere, Dutch assistance was effectively cut off from further efforts by the Presidential decree in 1992. Brinkman concludes that Dutch assistance had to offer only a modest contribution to the long term perspective of the “process of emancipation of the Indonesian universities” (p.c. Brinkman).
4. The socialization – opposition dimension
International and bilateral donors invested massively in the academic and physical infrastructure of Indonesian State universities. This kind of external assistance was generally welcomed by both the State agencies and the university institutions. At the same time, however, donor goals and investments, by their relative size (in relation to State or institutional budgets, cf. chapter 3) and selective nature (some got more than others, many received little or nothing, cf. chapter 3) at least implicitly challenged the ways in which the State and the State universities themselves managed their financial, academic, and human resources. This was particularly the case in Indonesia’s specific institutional context, where government budgets were traditionally used to equalize across and within institutions (rather than to specialize or to differentiate), where funding typically was “across the board” (rather than based on particular needs or qualities), where the politics of a bureaucratic system largely determined the boundaries and often restricted the emergence of competing academic values (cf. ‘civitas academica’), and where the standardized, seniority based rules of the civil service precondition the academic careers of teaching staff.
Not surprisingly then, there was opposition, implicit resistance or plain protest against some of these management related by-products of external assistance. Notably, there was resistance against perceived inequalities in the distribution of funds resulting from external assistance, and the Indonesian government at times was very creative in finding ways to spread donor investments more equally (cf. the concept of the Bank supported Inter University Centers, which were located at selected institutions but at the same time were assigned to include regional universities in their activities). At the institutional level, university rectors needed to deal with the inequalities between faculties and departments receiving international assistance (so-called ‘wet departments’), and those that did not (‘dry departments’) (p.c. Soekadji, former rector UGM and former Director General).
Similarly, there was outright opposition from various sides against the prospect of introducing policy reforms leading to greater institutional autonomy and decentralized decision making. To begin with, when the idea of university autonomy was first introduced by DGHE in government circles in the mid 1980s, it was explicitly restricted to ‘financial autonomy’ in order to preventively accommodate expected political sensitivities at the highest level (p.c. Soekadji). Moreover, resistance from within the bureaucracy became apparent at several stages in the process of increasing autonomy. When a crucial regulation in 1991 granted State universities the financial autonomy to manage self-generated income, the implementation of the regulation was overruled by the Ministry of Finance’s State budget rules (p.c. Sukadji). Much later, at a time when the prospect of ‘full’ autonomy was already firmly enshrined in policy documents and the language of the New Paradigm, latent resistance within ranks of the DGHE or BAPPENAS seemed to be growing, as bureaucrats saw their power decreasing or their career prospects to be affected by the politics of decentralization (p.c. Sukadji, Fasli)165. Within the State institutions, meanwhile, increased financial autonomy began to introduce, albeit hesitantly, centrally institutionalized ways to deal with the tricky issue of cross-subsidization (e.g. from ‘wet’, income generating departments, to ‘dry’ departments where opportunities to attract monies from elsewhere are limited), in the process affecting the power balance between Dean and Rector (p.c. Soekadji). Even sections of Indonesia’s private sector already expressed their doubts and fears, as increased autonomy for State universities (for instance, in setting fees, or starting new non-degree programs) would lead to ‘unfair’ competition in particular market segments (p.c. Willi Toisuta). Further, students, encouraged by the successful overthrow of Suharto, started protesting the spectacular fee hikes at most top public institutions in the late 1990s166, which they associated with new regulations regarding university autonomy (PP60/61). The new regulations for the first time introduced the prospect of granting some State universities legal autonomy as ‘separate legal entity’, further discussed in chapter 5.167 In the post-Suharto era, the emerging left regarded university autonomy as form of privatization (‘swastinisatie’) promoted by IMF and World Bank’s neo-liberal ideology.
In effect, many of the management related outcomes of international assistance typically reflect the need for broadly based processes of socialization for which donors themselves at first sight seem relatively powerless. With regard to the management reforms of the mid-1990s suggesting greater institutional autonomy and accountability (the New Paradigm), several key participants admitted that donor agencies can be strong pushers, but at the same time are typically confined to boundaries set by the political and the cultural context of the country. One source put it as follows: “institutions themselves, including the teachers, students, Deans and Rectors, need to make autonomy their own struggle” (p.c. Bagyo Moeliodihardjo).
International donors dealt differently with opposition and shifting power balances. While many bilateral donors such as the Dutch explicitly often tried to steer away from the ‘internal kitchen’ of management and decision making, the World Bank explicitly sought ways to support the socialization of the twin idea of institutional autonomy and accountability both at the center and within the institutions. One way was to include line items in Bank loans that support the creation of new structures such as the Accreditation Board or the Board of Higher Education. Their role is in great part “to socialize the idea of autonomy within institutions, to start with the rectors, who typically have high prestige function, in some instances associated with quite some power and influence outside the institution and might not be convinced of the need of developing institution wide strategies” (p.c. Sukadji). Another mechanism, which the Bank has been experimenting with under the DUE-project in particular, is the procedure by which institutions need to submit institutional development plans following participative methods and transparent bottom-up processes (cf. supra). Finally, it is noted that also other donor agencies, including the Dutch, introduced and started processes, which, often informally, contributed to introducing and socializing new ways of organizing higher education. Notably, the tacit component in transferring institutional development knowledge is often hidden in low cost exchanges and horizontal learning methods, such as study tours, cross-training, twinning arrangements, and informal talks between rectors, deans, teachers and students participating in these exchanges.
Interim conclusion: congruency
In general, both our cases suggest a relatively high score on the various dimensions of the congruency criterion. Donors avoided imposition of specific reforms related to institutional autonomy, accountability, or the introduction of particular State roles. Instead they either explicitly steered away from interfering with management decisions altogether or explored alliances seeking intrinsic motivations for fundamental reform (such as, notably, budgetary constraints, perceived low quality, lack of international competitiveness, competition with private institutions etc.). Instead of mandated and immediate change, donors, at least in this case, pragmatically chose a more gradual path; with no grand design or master plan to introduce institutional autonomy begin with, but with much muddling through and learning from past experiences, successes and failures. In the end, the Bank in particular discovered that management reforms for increased institutional autonomy required more effective leveraging from below. In other words, one might conclude that the changes introduced in the mid- to late 1990s under the so-called ‘New Paradigm’ reflect the outcome of a learning process that started in the 1970s. It remains to be seen to what extent these changes can truly be qualified as paradigmatic.
III. From State control to … State supervision?
As I have preliminarily concluded from the previous section, the processes of international assistance which have been investigated in this dissertation score relatively high on the criterion of congruence with the Indonesian policy context. In this section, the focus turns to assessing the product variables of outcomes reached. I will discuss ways in which international assistance outcomes might eventually be gauged in terms of its implications for State-university relations, government's role and institutional autonomy.
At least two possible avenues seem to stand out. The first and most obvious route would be to assess the project outcomes against a set of predetermined indicators. For instance, indicators, such as the number and type of decisions to be made at State or institutional level, the funding system and decision making powers at central and institutional levels respectively, would be assembled and compared over time. Not uncommon to World Bank projects, which generally show a strong preference to assess the 'value' of investment projects in measurable parameters (even when rates of return prove hard to calculate), all of its project documents do make a provision to commission a baseline study, summarizing the current status of higher education development (or part of it) in view of establishing the basis for sector based evaluations of rates of return on investments. In addition, international assistance to Indonesia’s higher education development budget typically contributed to increased domestic funding for higher education overall, at least in absolute terms. Notably, the increase of international donor funds for investments in infrastructure and staff development during the early 1980s effectively contributed to an increase of domestic recurrent expenditures for salaries and related routine costs, up to the point that the imbalance between the government’s development and recurrent budgets helped pave the way to consider ‘new’, i.e. more decentralized ways, to channel donor funds into the system. Furthermore, international projects played a catalytic role in directing the government to invest more resources on particular types of higher education (i.e. polytechnics, graduate education and research, upgrading staff qualifications in basic education…), and increase the efficiency in the use of these resources, all of which can be measured and assessed according to predetermined management indicators, typically to be found in project completion reports of the Bank or other donors.
Clark's conceptual distinction between the enabling conditions, the formative conditions, and the enacting conditions for integrating the ‘institutional fabric’ of higher education suggests an alternative avenue for assessing the outcome of international assistance in relation to Indonesia’s higher education (B. Clark, 1995).168 The distinction between three levels of organization (i.e. the level of the national system of higher education, the level of the institution, and the level of the basic unit), and their connected types of conditions (i.e. enabling conditions in the national system, formative conditions in the university, and enacting conditions in the basic unit) foremost suggests a sequential logic for our analysis of assistance outcomes, moving from broad system wide contributions to effects on institutional behavior and, eventually, to impacts at the level of the academic work unit. Besides the level of organization, however, our analysis of assistance outcomes takes into consideration both depth and scope of changes implied in specific reforms (see table 4.4). With Cerych and Sabatier (1986) we define depth of change as “the degree to which these changes imply a departure from existing values and practices of higher education” (Cerych & Sabatier, 1986: 244). Change, in other words, is qualified on a scale from moderate to radical by the extent to which it departs from existing norms or behavior. For instance, an increase of staff in principle does not fundamentally alter the norms and practices of higher education institutions. Instead, the shift from a civil service status based career prospect to an academic merit based recruitment and promotion system will affect both cultural values (i.e. status vs. merit) and institutional management practice. With the scope or functional breadth of change we refer to “the number of functional areas in which a given reform policy is expected to introduce more or less profound modifications” (Cerych & Sabatier, 1986: 244). Functional areas include funding (i.e. level, types, locus of decision making), access and admission, teacher qualifications, internal structures and governance and so forth. Table 4.4 summarizes the potential range of levels, depths and scopes of change. Our further discussion focuses on outcomes (effective changes) in Indonesia’s higher education system implied, inspired or otherwise influenced by international assistance.