Matthew Morris: Recent Analysis of AusAID Scholarship Program Incomplete

    Maldivian President Nasheed thanks the Australian government for increase scholarships to Maldives during a reception to honor scholarship recipients and Maldivian alumni of Australian universities in December 2010. A scholarship program backed by Australian overseas aid money has funded Australian schooling of children of politicians from AusAID partner countries and courses in design and photography, according to documents obtained under the freedom of information law. Photo by: Mauroof khaleel/ Presidency Maldives

    A recent media report that looked at the effectiveness of Australia’s scholarship programs as aid instruments move the aid effectiveness discussion forward but is incomplete and fails to deliver a balanced analysis, the deputy director of an Australian think tank says.

    “The public deserves well researched analysis of the aid program and unfortunately we are short changed in the scholarships story,” Matthew Morris of the Development Policy Centre writes, referring to a recent article written by Markus Mannheim and published in the Canberrra Times. “Instead we get yet another beat up of the aid program: we read about ministers ‘doling the scholarships out’, developing country ‘elites’ receiving ‘lucrative awards’ etc.”

    >> Documents Suggest Questionable Awards by AusAID Scholarship Program

    Morris notes that the story, which was based on documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act,  does not include the latest data about Australia’s development-related scholarship program, which he said would have made the analysis more persuasive.

    “It would also be more persuasive if it were based on the findings of a more recent audit or aid review. The story preempts an ongoing audit of Australian support for tertiary education that is due to be tabled in the Autumn sitting of Parliament, and the Independent Aid Review, chaired by Sandy Hollway, that is due to report back this week on how to improve the effectiveness of Australian aid, presumably including scholarships,” Morris writes in the “Development Policy” blog, adding that judgment of the program should be reserved until a more informed analysis that considers the soon-to-be released review comes out.

    >> Australian Aid Review to Propose Cutting Some Programs, Review Panel Head Says

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.