Eighty-five Samoan students are to be awarded scholarships through the Australian and New Zealand aid programmes.
For the 2016 intake Australia has offered 32 new scholarships, while New Zealand has offered 53 full scholarships and 15 short-term training attachments.
The scholarships are awarded to high achieving Foundation year students from the National University of Samoa as well as in-service candidates. Scholars will take up undergraduate and Post Graduate studies in Australia, New Zealand and within the Pacific region.
Acting High Commissioners for Australia, Rosemary McKay, and New Zealand, Michael Walsh, joined Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi at a ceremony to farewell the students last Friday.
Ms. McKay said the awards – which are offered annually – aim to upskill Samoans who can then return to their home country and contribute to its economic development.
“We prioritize education and scholarships in our aid programme because of the strong links between a well educated population, improved economic growth and lifting living standards,” she said.
“Scholarships also have an important role in addressing skills shortages in Samoa and we are pleased, along with New Zealand, to be specifically targeting scholarships to critical areas of need in the health and education sectors, including allied health professionals and maths and science teachers,” she said.
In relation to the awards, Mr. Walsh added that “New Zealand and Australia scholarships are not only an investment on the individual but also an investment in Samoa’s social and economic development.” “Each scholarship student will study in an area that links to Samoa’s current Human Resource Development Priorities.
This is so each scholar contributes to making a real and positive difference to Samoa when they return home at the end of their scholarship.” Australia and New Zealand are long term partners with Samoa on tertiary education, offering short and long term scholarships for Samoan citizens to study in both countries and the region.
Last year, Australia and New Zealand signed a tripartite agreement with the government of Samoa to govern the harmonised scholarships programme in Samoa.
The arrangement set out respective roles and partnership principles guiding the Partner’s arrangement relating to the promotion, application, selection and monitoring and evaluation of scholarships to achieve a more standardized and transparent process.