In an effort to provide assurance of the quality for higher education in health, which is mandated by Law No.12/2012 on Higher Education, the government organized a quality assurance system for higher education in health, where among one of its main policies is to organize a national competency exam. To date, within the health sector that has executed competency exam nation wide are medical, dentistry, nursing, midwifery and nurses. National competency exam is expected to reduce disparity in terms of quality of graduates from around 2200 program study in health. In terms of global challenges, the national competency exam is part of a standardization effort for permit and registration practice of health workers providing health services in Indonesia. The national competency exam is expected to filter competent Indonesian health personnel that could provide excellent health services to society, with patient’s wellness as its main principle. Educational wise, national competency exam is expected to encourage curriculum improvement and learning process in each educational institution, and become the coaching basis of quality education in health which is under the Ministry’s responsibility.

Development and implementation of health competency exam have been carried out gradually in every aspect. A national competency exam system for medical area has gained international recognition (world class) from the World Bank international consultants. Hence, it was adopted for development in other health competency exam. With regards to competency exam in medical and dentistry, its implementation is supported of Law No.20 / 2013 on Medical Education and  further regulated by Regulation of the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education No. 18 Year 2015 regarding Procedures for Student Competency Exam of Doctor or Dentist Profession Program. Participants who pass the competency exam receive certificate of profession from the university, and competency certificate from organization of profession. The Student Competency Exam Program for Doctor Profession (UKMPPD) and Student Competency Exam Program for Dentist Profession (UKMP2DG) have been organized nation wide using two types of test, multiple choice questions (MCQ) through a computer (Computer Based Test/CBT) and clinical examintion skills test (Objective Structured clinical examination/OSCE). UKMPPD and UKMP2DG is being held four times a year, ie February, May, August and November for UKMPPD; and in January, April, August and October for UKMP2DG. As of today, the Faculty of Medical and Faculty of Dentistry who have participated UKMPPD and UKMP2DG, respectively of 69 (out of 75 for Faculty of Medical) and 25 (out of 30 for Faculty of Dentistry).
For UKMPPD, since August 2014, the number of participants reached 18,840. 1st taker graduates of UKMPPD for 2015 were approximately 70% for CBT, and 90% for the OSCE (Exam Pass Value 66). For UKMP2DG, since November 2014 until now, the number of participants reached 5556, with a graduation average percentage about 65% for CBT and 85% for the OSCE (Exam Pass Value 60). In an effort to improve compliance with UKMPPD standards, the committee has given strict sanctions to participants and organizer committing violations in UKMPPD execution.

The competency test for nursing, midwifery and nurses, is in its early stages of implementation as an exit exam and with full accordance as mandated by Law No.36/2014 on Health Personnel and Law No.38/2014 on Nursing. It is conducted nation wide twice in a year by using two types of test, the first is multiple choice questions (MCQ) using a computer (Computer Based Test/CBT) for nurse profesion, and second using paper (Paper Based Test) for Diploma III of nursing and Diploma III of Midwifery. Participants whom pass the national competency exam receive a certificate of competence for vocational graduates or certificate of profession for graduates of profession education. The number of participants tends to increase through the years. In 2014, there is as as many as 115.852 which significantly increase in 2015 to become 129.877 participants. On the other hand, its graduation percentage tends to be volatile. In the first period of 2015, graduation percentage for Diploma III of Nursing, Midwifery and Nurse Profession, respectively were 29.49%, 36.03% and 45.45%. During second period of 2015, it become 64.38% for Diploma III of Nursing, 71.78% for Diploma III of Midwifery, and 53.61% for Nurse Profession. The committee is still reviewing results regarding this subject. In April 2016, around around 62.891 participants coming of 257 program study for nurse profession, 554 program study Diploma III of Midwifery, and 416 program study Diploma III of Nursing, signed up for competency test conducted on Apri 2nd-4th for nurse profession, April 9th for Diploma III of Midwifery and April 16th for Diploma III of Nursing.

In an effort to spread the implementation of national competency test in Indonesia to international community, and to obtain recommendation for standard competency testing that meet global standards, the Ministry of Research, Technology & Higher Education facilitated international publications related to evaluation results of competency test in medical, nursing, midwifery and nurses. A scientific publication was released in March 2016 related to an analysis of UKMPPD results within the period 2014-2015, highlighting the theme “Development of Institutional Feedback based on National Examination”, which also includes monitoring and evaluation results of health competency test implementation in 2015 with subject “Competence-based Examination to Strengthen Quality of Higher Education Health and Healthcare System in Indonesia”, in Ottawa & ANZAHPE Conference, Australia. Furthermore, it is expected that evaluation results regarding implementation of competency test in any sector could produce many scientific publications, which at the end would provide feedback for educational institution.

To improve the quality of compentency test continuously, the Ministry of Research, Technology & Higher Education through Directorate General for Learning and Student Affairs will strengthen the quality of examination standards (material, human resources, facilities/infrastructure and institutional committee systems) on an ongoing basis. In addition, the competency test results will form a basis for development programs in health study, hence determine quota for new admissions of the program. Therefore, close cooperation is needed from various stakeholders of higher education for health, mainly the association of educational institutions and professional organizations.