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SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Australian aid program scholarships: an effective use of Australian aid? Development Policy Workshop Panel 2b | 13 February 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Australian aid program scholarships: an effective use of Australian aid? Development Policy Workshop Panel 2b | 13 February 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Australian aid program scholarships: an effective use of Australian aid? Development Policy Workshop Panel 2b | 13 February 2014 JOEL NEGIN SENIOR LECTURER IN INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH

2 Acknowledgements ›This research is being funded through the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. ›We thank them for their support through the process and would also like to thank GRM International in Pretoria for their assistance. 2

3 Objectives of today’s presentation ›Review the role of scholarships in Australia’s aid program in general and in Africa ›Assess the impact of scholarships on Australia Awards alumni in Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda ›Suggest challenges and potential way forward for the scholarship program 3 Note: I use the term AusAID in some places in the presentation because the scholarships being assessed were delivered under the auspices of AusAID, because scholars call them “AusAID scholarships”, and because some of the questions mention AusAID

4 A large proportion of Australian aid is delivered through scholarships 4 Percentage of total ODA disbursed through scholarships, OECD average and selected countries, Source: OECD DAC data In 2012, Australia invested $334.2m in scholarships, supporting 4,900 recipients from more than 145 countries

5 Despite its prominence, limited evaluation of impact ›And quite a few critiques / questions: -scholarship program “has struggled to prove its effectiveness, with little evidence of its impact beyond anecdotal evidence of individual success stories and self- serving indicators” -link between scholarships and poverty reduction has been questioned noting that scholarships do not generally target the poor and directly impact a relatively small number of people -biggest beneficiaries of the scholarship program are Australian Universities who capture substantial portions of the aid funding in the form of fees 5 I guess your tax dollars pay my salary… thanks aid budget!

6 What are the objectives of Australian scholarships? ›A bit of a tricky question: -Australia Awards: “aim to contribute to the long term development needs of Australia's partner countries” -PNG scholarships objectives: “to provide men and women with the skills and knowledge to contribute to PNG’s economic and social development within the priority areas (government, private sector, civil society)” and “to empower young women and men to actively participate in the development of civil society” -African scholarships program goal as of 2011: “contributing to achievement of MDGs in Africa while promoting Australia as an active partner in African development” (Australia as active partner is new as of 2011) -Variously over time: poverty reduction, sustainable development, individual empowerment, links to Australia, development impact 6 For discussion: what should the objectives of scholarships be?

7 Australian scholarships for Africa ›The Australian government has been providing scholarships to individuals from Africa for more than 60 years. ›More recently, as part of the scale-up of the Australian aid program to Africa starting in 2008, the scholarship program has expanded rapidly. ›Between 2005 and 2012, the African scholarship program expanded from 10 countries and 80 candidates to more than 30 countries and more than 350 candidates. ›Scholarships are the largest component of the Australian aid program’s country programs in many countries in Africa. 7

8 Number of African scholarships has increased dramatically Number of Australian-government funded scholars from 11 African countries graduating per year,

9 Health, management, agriculture most popular fields of study for African students Field of study of Australian-government funded scholars from 11 African countries, For discussion: how are fields of study chosen? Based on country consultation?

10 Research Methodology ›We aimed to examine Australian scholarships for Africans to study in Australia ›Surveyed alumni from for Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda ›Internet survey ›Qualitative interviews to follow in April and June to go into more depth ›Presenting initial findings from the survey here today ›102 respondents: 39% from Mozambique, 36% from Kenya, 25% from Uganda 10

11 Different recruitment models in different countries: Public sector by nomination OR broader model 11 Employment prior to scholarshipRecruitment model

12 Overall very positive perception of relevance of their scholarship to their current position 12

13 Current Employment 13 Current EmployerCurrent Sector of Work 86% of respondents are back in their home country; 5% are in Australia

14 Alumni have received more responsibility, been promoted and received higher salaries 14 “Compared to before your scholarship, in your current job, do you have more responsibility for or did you receive”

15 Limited ongoing links to Australia: a missed opportunity 15 Networking frequency upon returning to home country Asked to rate how they felt about Australia on a scale of one to five, where five was most positive and one most negative, 83 (81%) respondents felt “most positive” about Australia, followed by 18 (18%) who gave a rating of four

16 Are scholars members of the elite? 16 Highest level of education attained by parentsHad scholar been out of Africa before scholarship For discussion: should scholars be members of the elite? Helps Australia’s policy influence down the road. But funding a minister’s son doesn’t seem the point of the aid budget…

17 Impact of scholarships on positive change Extent to which respondents’ scholarship has contributed to positive change to community, place of work and country as whole 17

18 Discussion ›Overall, scholarships are very positively regarded and have a positive personal impact on scholars ›Alumni view Australia very positively – but have very little ongoing contact ›Many alumni have already had opportunity – are they the most in need – and should that be a goal of the scholarship program ›What are the real objectives of the scholarship program (link to Australia, development impact, individual impact, poverty reduction) and how should the program be designed to meet those goals 18

19 Discussion ›Challenge of counter-factuals? How would these individuals have done without the Australian scholarship? ›Is this good aid? Better than immunisation or teacher training or agricultural productivity? ›How do scholarships and the New Colombo Plan fit together? 19

20 Potential ways forward for scholarships 1.Use DFAT’s bulk purchasing power to get reduced fees at Australian Universities so that more people can get access to this opportunity 2.Build up tertiary education capacity in developing countries o In Timor-Leste, Australia is offering some of their scholarships locally 3.Delivery of scholarships in country through MOOCs with Australian tutors 4.Reach out to the poor, most vulnerable, most in need of opportunity o Or alternatively target the most powerful for greatest future linkages 20


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