The Australia Awards South and West Asia conducts one Regional Alumni Workshop each year for the alumni in the seven countries in the South and West Asia region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Each workshop is uniquely designed to focus either on a particular sector or on participants from a particular interest group.
The first regional workshop was delivered on the topic of ‘Women in Leadership’ in Colombo, Sri Lanka in November 2015 that launched the Australia Awards South and West Asia Women in Leadership Network, and mentored and prepared selected Australia Awards women alumni from the region to become architects of change within their own countries and across South and West Asia.
The Regional Alumni Workshop 2016 provides an opportunity for alumni in the South and West Asia region to present their work, share their experiences with peers formally and informally, and build and strengthen relevant professional networks across the region.
Australia’s development policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability, identifies education as a critical sector for investment. The Government’s Strategy for Australia’s aid investments in education outlines how the Government works with partner governments to deliver comprehensive and high-quality education services, of which disability- and gender-inclusive education are priorities.
Closely aligned with this, the Government’s Strategy for strengthening disability-inclusive development in Australia’s Aid Program reaffirms Australia’s commitment to supporting people with disabilities in developing countries to improve the quality of their lives and inclusive education is a key priority within this Strategy.
These strategies align closely with the Global Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Reflecting the importance that the Australian Government places on the sector, Australian Government Aid Investment Plans in all countries in the region include strategies for supporting partner governments to improve access to and the quality of their education systems.
Investment in human capacity development through the Australia Awards program is an important complementary modality to Australia’s other education investments. In the last five years alone, nearly 100 Australia Awards Scholarships have been awarded to individuals in the South and West Asia region to study in the field of education.
The workshop topic was selected after a review of Aid Investment Plans across the region that identified education as a priority sector for all seven countries.
The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Suzanne Carrington, Head of the School of Cultural and Professional Learning at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia. Professor Carrington has conducted research and published in international journals in the areas of inclusive culture, policy and practice, learning support, autistic spectrum disorder, teaching/professional development, and service learning. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Inclusive Education.
The Regional Alumni Workshop 2016 is designed to:
Participation in the two-day workshop will be open to approximately 35 Australia Awards alumni from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Participants will be selected through a competitive selection process through which applicants will need to demonstrate their professional and academic experience in the education sector, outline what they can contribute to the workshop, and explain how they would use new skills, knowledge and professional networks developed in the workshop to contribute to the education sector in their home countries.
There will be a nominal quota of five participants per country and the selection process will be managed by the Australia Awards South and West Asia Regional Hub.
The selected participants will form country teams and, with guidance from Professor Carrington, jointly produce and deliver PowerPoint presentations on their experiences with inclusive education policies and practices in their home countries.
Australia Awards Scholarships, Australia Awards Short Course Awards, Australia Awards Fellowships, and Endeavours Scholarships and Fellowships alumni either with a) qualifications in the field of education or related fields, or b) individuals who are working in the education sector in general, or inclusive education sector in particular, are eligible to apply.
Australia Awards will cover all expenses related to travel such as airfares, accommodation, airport transfers, visa fees, travel insurance, per diem and other workshop related expenses of the selected participants for travel to Nepal.
17 – 18 November, 2016
The first day of the workshop will be a conference during which each of the seven country teams will deliver a presentation based on their professional experiences in one or more of the following topics:
Professor Carrington will work closely with the teams to produce and quality assure the preparations and presentations beforehand. The presentations will be followed by a Question & Answer Panel Session where Professor Carrington will facilitate discussion to provide feedback and to gather ideas about common challenges for implementing inclusive education in the South and West Asian region.
The second day of the workshop will comprise three parts:
1) The participants will be split into groups and each group will go on a field visit to a local organisation or project implementing best practice in the field of inclusive education;
2) The groups will return to the workshop venue and participate in a roundtable reflection on the lessons learned during the workshop and the field visit;
3) The entire group will reconvene for a workshop to design the Terms of Reference for a regional Education Community of Practice. The Community of Practice might include an online forum where members can discuss national or regional education challenges; participate in webinars; and share academic and professional resources and information.