Australia Awards South and West Asia

Image of Australia Award scholar Chandana Wijekoon with family

Australia Awards South and West Asia provides scholarships and short-term training opportunities in Australia and in our region. In doing so, it invests in building the skills and knowledge of individuals so they can deliver positive forms of development contributions after returning to their home countries.

Scope Global manages Australia Awards South and West Asia for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Scholarships   In 2016, all 199 completing awardees successfully obtained their Australian degree. Program staff managed a four-fold increase in the number of new scholarships for Intake 2017 over the previous year.

Short courses This year eight short courses were delivered featuring a range of delivery approaches: wholly in-Australia, wholly in-country, and a combination of online, in-country and in-Australia modes. Short courses were designed through strong collaboration with DFAT Posts and partner government agencies.

Alumni engagement   In November 2016, 42 Australia Awards alumni from all seven participating countries came together in Kathmandu for the Regional Alumni Workshop, ‘Education for All’. They shared their experience of inclusive education practices, expanded regional linkages, and built a community of practice on inclusive education.

The Australia Awards in South and West Asia Women in Leadership Network has opened a dialogue on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment across the region. National chapters were established in Bangladesh and Pakistan, with events held to celebrate women and leadership.

Scholar profile: Chandana Wijekoon

Australia Awards on-award scholar Mr Chandana Wijekoon is studying a Master of Education at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Tell us about your background

I have worked at the Mahaweli National College of Education in Kandy, which trains language teachers, for more than five years. I’ve had polio since I was 1 year old. I’ve never been outside of Sri Lanka before this.

Why did you apply for an Australia Awards scholarship?

I wanted to extend my knowledge of technology in education. It took me two to three years to find the right course and university to study at.

What is your experience of living and studying in Australia compared to Sri Lanka?

I moved to Australia with my family: my wife, my 9-year-old son and my 3-year-old daughter. There is a big Sri Lankan community living in Adelaide, which helped us to settle into the city. My family found it easier than me to adapt the Australian lifestyle.

Facilities for people with disability are more available in Australia. There are special seats reserved at the front of the bus – in Sri Lanka it is difficult to travel on public transport. Accessing buildings is easy as there are lifts everywhere as an alternative to stairs.

I find it easy to study here. In Australia the focus is on feedback during learning and self-learning.

How will you contribute to your country’s development on your return?

When I go home I would like to update the methods used for teacher training in two ways: the first is enhancing teachers’ learning methods, such as using self-learning techniques like online learning and DVDs. The second is greater use of devices – I am planning to create a model class to trial the teachers’ learning methods and the new devices.

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