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Year in Review 2017

Australia Awards – South and West Asia

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Australia Awards South and West Asia

For over 60 years, from the Colombo Plan to today’s Australia Awards, the Australian Government has proudly supported emerging leaders from developing countries in accessing a high-quality education and life experience in Australia. Australia Awards remain a central pillar of Australia’s investment in people-to-people links with its partner nations.

In South and West Asia, Australia Awards are open to suitably qualified nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

‘I have undeniably been provided with a world-class education. I am now confident in best practices in project management and have a greater understanding of how to identify opportunities for change in the Maldives.
‘I hope to make a difference through engaging in and contributing to the Maldives’ economic development efforts.’

Mohamed Bunyameen (Maldives)
Master of Project Management
The Australian National University, 2017

Highlights of 2017

It was a highly successful and productive year for Australia Awards in South and West Asia.

In total, 589 Australia Awards scholars and Short Course recipients undertook tertiary education and training programs delivered by Australian providers in 2017, an increase in throughput of 36 per cent over 2016.

All completing Australia Awards recipients, without exception, satisfied the requirements of their study program either to be granted their formal degree or to receive a certificate of completion of their Short Course. All completing scholars and recipients, without exception, returned home on conclusion of their studies.

Of particular note was a 75 per cent increase in the number of Short Courses compared with the preceding 12 months. Short Courses were delivered in a broad range of areas aligned to country priorities. Gain scores and participant feedback clearly indicated that these Short Courses were both effective and highly valued by recipients.

The number of contactable alumni was increased by 40 per cent over the course of the year—to 4,000. Almost half of this number attended one of the many alumni engagement activities organised throughout the region.

Year in Review 2017 presents of the some of the key Australia Awards achievements and landmark events in the region over the course of the year.

589 Australia Awards scholars and Short Course recipients from Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka undertook tertiary education and training with Australian providers in 2017—an increase of 36% over 2016

Outcomes at a glance

Outcome (i): Alumni are making positive development contributions

Among 95 Australia Awards alumni surveyed 18 months after they had returned home:

85% had already passed on their new skills and knowledge  to others93% had introduced improved practices and innovations in their work


Among Short Course alumni surveyed 6–12 months after completing their course:

85% continued to engage in development tasks related to their Short Course

Outcome (ii): Alumni are maintaining personal and professional linkages

Among the 95 Australia Awards alumni surveyed:

40% were in contact at least monthly with Australians they had met while undertaking their Scholarship66% were in contact at least monthly with fellow  Australia Awards alumni

Outcome (iii): Australia is viewed as a valued international partner

Among the 95 Australia Awards alumni surveyed:

The Australia Awards South and West Asia website attracted well over half a million unique visitors—a five-fold increase over 2016Among the 95 Australia Awards alumni surveyed, all had either a positive or highly positive view of Australia, Australians, and Australian skills and expertise98% of scholars surveyed would recommend Australia as a good place to both visit and study, and would encourage others to apply for a Scholarship100% of Short Course participants were positive about their experience  in Australia

Australia Awards Scholarships

In South and West Asia, Australia Awards Scholarships offer master’s degree-level study in fields agreed with partner governments and aligned with Australia’s development, economic and public diplomacy priorities.

In South and West Asia, Australia Awards Scholarships are available to applicants in Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The study and life experience opportunities provided by Australia Awards Scholarships develop the skills and knowledge of emerging leaders to drive change and contribute to development of their countries.

In 2017, 211 Australia Awards Scholarships were offered to successful applicants in South and West Asia for study commencing in 2018.

211 Australia Awards scholars commenced study in 2017, with approximately 15% from civil society, 10% from the private sector and 75% from the public sector. The program provided support and activities for 305 Australia Award scholars.48% of scholarships were awarded to women, 5% to people with disability. Of the 80 completing scholars, all successfully obtained their Australian degree and returned home.


Case study: Preparing emerging leaders for study success

Towards the end of the year, 211 emerging leaders prepared for postgraduate studies commencing in 2018 at world-renowned Australian universities.

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Short Courses

Australia Awards Short Courses offer the next generation of global leaders for development an opportunity to undertake short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in support of key development and foreign affairs priorities. Short Course opportunities build valuable people-to-people links both with Australia and within the Indo-Pacific region.

Of the 495 Australia Awards offered in 2017 across the region, 284 were for Short Courses (57%). Fourteen Short Courses were delivered wholly or partly in 2017, an increase of 75% over the eight delivered in 2016. The design of Short Courses was characterised by strong collaboration between stakeholders. Courses covered a broad range of fields aligned to country priorities.

14 Short Courses were delivered wholly or partly in 2017 for 284 recipients,284 recipients: an increase of 83% over the number of Short Course recipients in 2016100% were satisfied with  their Short Course and their  experience in Australia

Case study: Bhutan Government officials poised to break down gender barriers

After completing the Australia Awards Short Course on Women in Executive Leadership Development in December 2017, senior Government officials from Bhutan planned to counter gender stereotypes and break down barriers to women’s participation as decision-makers in the workforce.

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‘During my Australia Awards Scholarship, I developed personal and professional networks that were highly relevant to my professional development and the impact I hope to have in the Education sector in Bangladesh. I have no doubt these networks will continue to benefit me for years into the future’

Israt Ara Islam (Bangladesh)
Master of Educational Leadership 
University of Western Australia, 2017

Informal Learning Opportunities

Informal Learning Opportunities are an important training modality for Australia Awards in South and West Asia. They are responsive capacity building tools, utilised to provide a variety of opportunities for engagement with partner countries—they can include ad hoc short courses, including on-site training; study tours; workshops; conferences; seminars; work placements; mentoring arrangements; on-the-job training; and the provision of training or capacity building technical assistance.

Twenty-three Informal Learning Opportunities were completed in 2017 through Australia Awards in South and West Asia. Ten of these were funded by the Pakistan program, five each by the Bangladesh and Nepal programs, and three by the Sri Lanka program. This volume of activity represents a 50 per cent increase over 2016.

23 informal learning opportunities undertaken by 92 participants.

Case study: Alumni take on Innovation Challenge

Close to 30 inventive Australia Awards alumni from South and West Asia gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in October and November 2017 for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ‘Alumni Innovation Challenge’.

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Alumni Engagement

Globally, alumni of Australia’s education institutions are highly talented, mobile, and equipped with skills and knowledge made possible by their Australian qualifications. They are current and future leaders, influencers and change-makers.

In South and West Asia, Australia Awards strives to support strong Australia Awards alumni communities in each country—communities that actively engage with, develop linkages with and promote Australia.

In 2017, Australia Awards in South and West Asia put substantial effort into expanding and updating the contact details of Australia Awards alumni stored on the Global Alumni Network database. By December 2017, active email addresses for almost 4,000 alumni had been recorded—an increase of 40 per cent over December 2016.

1700 alumni attended one of the 38 country-level engagement events organised.Reintegration Workshops were conducted across six countries for 175 recently-returned alumniIllustration of graduates with hatsRecorded active email addresses for almost 4,000 alumni—an increase  of 40% over 2016