Changing Lives: Understanding the Barriers that Confront Educated Women in Papua New Guinea

Ceridwen Spark

Every year aid agencies provide scholarships to enable people from countries in the Pacific to attend schools, training colleges or universities overseas. In 2007, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) awarded 130 Australian Development Scholarships to Papua New Guineans. The combined total for other Pacific nations was 59. This bias in favour of Papua New Guinea (PNG) reflects Australia’s historically unique relationship with the country and its proximity and significance for Australia in terms of regional security and development agendas. In PNG, 56 per cent of the 2007 AusAID scholarships were awarded for postgraduate study. There are two kinds of AusAID tertiary education scholarships: Public Sector and Open/Equity scholarships. Organisations are required to nominate candidates in the former category. As far as possible, the scholarships are distributed evenly between men and women. The gender distribution, however, depends ultimately on the nominations that are received and more men are nominated than women. It is widely assumed that international higher education experiences offer students opportunities they would not otherwise have had, including the chance to gain an education superior to that on offer in their country of origin and to experience another culture first hand. While the benefits of education for individuals may be recognised, aid agencies do not exist to enhance individual lives but, rather, seek to influence ‘development’ on a country-wide scale. For instance, AusAID’s stated aim is ‘to assist developing countries reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia’s national interest’ (AusAID n.d.).

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 24, 2021
Published in

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