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Indonesia is a land of vast potential. It is the fourth largest country with over 240 million people. It is an archipelago of 17,000 islands that stretches from the Indian Ocean to Australia. It has vast and varied natural resources. However, it is presently an untapped potential, waiting to join the ranks of the “emerging economies” of the world.

One island that is very different from the rest is Batam, located 20 km south of Singapore. Once a forested area, it has since the 1970s been undergoing tremendous transformation, being part of the Indonesia–Malaysia–Singapore Growth Triangle. It is a free trade zone, a major harbor and industrial area. With low labor costs and special government incentives, it is the site of many factories operated by foreign countries.

Although Batam is part of a municipality covering several islands, nearly all the people in the municipality (1,153,860 according to the Civil Registry Survey April 2012) reside on this island. And according to the 2010 Census it was the fastest-growing municipality in the nation, with a growth rate of 11% per year.

The most important “missing link” in the development of Indonesia is education. It is obviously difficult to provide good education in a country of 17,000 islands – many of which are still difficult to reach. Another important “link” in Indonesia’s educational development is the learning of English – which is today’s language of commerce and cooperation, and of particular importance for those wishing to work in Batam.

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