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Supporting Iraq's education system.



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Media Release

SUPPORTING IRAQ’S EDUCATION SYSTEM

11 December, 2003 MIN 562/03

The Australian Government’s strong commitment to re-building Iraq is reinforced with the announcement today of a new initiative enabling Iraqi scholars to travel to Australia to carry out short-term research at Australian universities.

The initiative falls under the Australian Government’s $7.9 million Endeavour Programme of scholarships and fellowships which attracts high performing students from around the world to Australia, and provides Australian language teachers with short-term overseas fellowships.

The new Endeavour Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are an Australian Government initiative providing financial assistance towards accommodation, travel and living expenses for high-achieving postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world to come to Australian higher education institutions to continue their research.

In the short term the Australian Government will offer a total of six Fellowships to Iraqi academics with the possibility of additional places over the next two years, at a total value of $96,000.

Working in isolation from current research and having few opportunities to experience an international exchange of ideas, Iraqi scholars will benefit from working with Australian researchers. The Fellowships will allow them to update their skills and knowledge while exposing them to new developments in their field of expertise.

The Iraqi university sector needs significant international support, with university libraries stocked with out-dated texts and English language competence among young academics at very low levels.

What will defend the world from that which we as human beings fear most - change - is education. Our war against terrorism will not only be fought with military hardware and equipment. It is also a war against what Socrates described as the root of all evil, and that is ignorance.

On returning home to Iraq, Fellowship recipients will be well placed to share their newly acquired knowledge with their students and colleagues. They will also build and maintain ongoing links with Australian universities.

For further information: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Mark Giffard 0412 420 987