Australian aid is investing in improving education in sub-Saharan Africa through:
- providing Australia Awards to African men and women for post-graduate training and education, including scholarships to study at Australian universities and specialised short courses (Africa Fellowships) for African professionals delivered in Australia and/or Africa; and
- Australian volunteer placements in select countries to develop local capacity, share skills and build relationships in sectors key to economic growth and job creation.
Australia Awards are a key part of Australia’s development assistance, expanding education and training opportunities in Africa. The Australian Government recognises that education develops skills and knowledge, builds enduring people, country and professional links, and has the power to influence change. The Awards strive to develop leadership potential and stimulate economic and social development by empowering a global network of powerful individuals through high-quality education experiences in Australia and overseas. Another key objective of the program is to foster ongoing people-to-people linkages and sustainable partnerships between Australian and African organisations, which has ongoing, flow-on benefits well beyond the individual graduates and their host institutions.
In the 2014 Australia Awards – Africa program, 713 Awards were offered to 43 countries. Pre-departure briefings were held in seven countries for 260 Masters and PhD scholars mobilising in 2014. For the 2015 intake, 497 participants were interviewed in eight locations. The Africa Fellowships program is well established, attracting over 3,500 applications for the 2014 intake. Twenty-nine Africa Fellowships courses are being delivered in 2014, with over 40 per cent of delivery conducted in Africa and two courses – Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and the Maternal, Neo-natal and Child Health (MNCH) – being delivered entirely in Africa. The inclusion of Africa partner institutions in the delivery of Fellowships courses strengthens existing bonds between Australian and African institutions and facilitates development of new linkages.
Awardees have opportunities to study with Australian higher education institutions, predominantly universities. Australian universities have been engaged with African institutions for some time. Currently 20 Australian universities have formal relationships with 51 higher education institutions in 18 African nations.
The following two organisations aim to strengthen academic relations between Australian and African universities and academics:
Australia Africa Universities Network
The Australia Africa Universities Network was launched in July 2012 with the aim of enhancing relationships and cooperation between leading Australian universities and their African peers. Collaboration is focused on developing capacity building and training programs in key sectors including governance, public sector reform, education, mining, agriculture and health. This is in line with the Australian government’s commitment to help African countries reduce poverty and lift living standards through sustainable economic growth.
Africa Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific
The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) is a national network of academics, students, consultants, activists, diplomats, artists, community leaders, and others who share a mutual interest in the promotion of African Studies in Australasia and the Pacific region.