Applying and securing a foreign government or aid funded scholarship can be a very rewarding and memorable experience for many people. For students, it’s a great experience to see new places, experience different cultures and get a qualification that can open up a all lot of opportunities.
However, for most students and working-class people in Papua New Guinea , the common question they ask is this: How can I apply and get a fully funded scholarship? In this article shows the possible options but the hard part lies on the individual to put the required efforts to get one.
Public Servants and Academics have a better change of scholarship.
To start with, it is important to point this out. Those working in the public sector and in academic institutions have a higher chance of securing a scholarship. The reasons are two fold.
Firstly, the global development agendas are set by the United Nations (UN). Most obvious ones are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and current one Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). Largest financial contributors to the United Nations Organizations are the G8 Nations, G20 Nations and all other member nations. As such, they fund and dictate the input of these agendas. Once these agendas are set, then they are implemented by the different UN Program Agencies such as United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), headquarter in Nairobi, Kenya, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), headquarter in New York City, USA, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), headquarter in New York City, USA, World Food Program (WFP) and a whole list of others. (See Full list of UN organizations). These UN organizations as implementing agencies work with the public service system in the member countries. Most of the recipient of the funding from UN agencies are the developing countries which includes Papua New Guinea. So, people working in the public sector in one way or other will end up working with these implement organizations and that opens up for them to access scholarships.
Secondly, in these days of fierce geopolitics and world trade between nations, forming alliances between nations is crucial. This is evident in PNG hosting successive important events and visits of Presidents and Prime Ministers. For example, visits of India’s Prime Minister, President of Indonesia, President of France, and the US PNG Defense Agreement. The implementation of these bilateral agreements and treaties are carried out by the public service system of the PNG. Therefore, foreign governments and aid organizations will channel their scholarships to fund public sector employees. So in the long run, they want to have their connections through the recipients of the scholarships. When a scholarship holder spends time in the host scholarship countries, they learn their culture, language, business and etc which enhances the level of corporation and trade between nations.
For the academics, there is the belief that educating the younger generation of leaders is core to a nations development and offering scholarships causes a multiplying effect of the value of the scholarship.
The two reasons mentioned above and others means that those who work in the public sector have a higher change of getting a fully funded scholarship to study overseas.
So, those working in the public sector will have this opportunity compared to those working in the private sector. If you work in a company or private organization that has a good staff development or training program, then its’ good. Otherwise, your professional development options maybe limited.
However, working in the private sector does offer the opportunity to develop your soft skills like computer literacy, communication and public speaking, time management, project management and etc.
How scholarships are communicated to Papua New Guineans.
Various foreign government scholarships are offered either direct or through their international aid agencies. For example Korea International Corporation Agency (KOICA)-South Korea, Japanese International Corporation Agency-Japan, US Agency for International Development (USAID)-US, Australian Development Aid (AUSAID and etc. How these scholarships are communicated potential Papua New Guineans is the problem. The only visible scholarship programs are the Australian Awards (AUSAID) and New Zealand Scholarships (New Zealand) and Chevening Scholarship by UK government. Theses scholarships are published and promoted in local media by British High Commission in Port Moresby, Australiaawardspng.org and New Zealand High Commission in Port Moresby.
The rest of the scholarships is through their embassies/high commissions in Port Moresby to the government departments, academic institutions, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Occasionally, they advertise it publicly. The scholarships have specific application opening and closing dates. If the information does not get to many potential candidates as possible, these scholarship opportunities are lost in the public service system.
Tips to find a scholarship and apply
Department of Foreign Affairs and Department Heads.
For those scholarships that are not publicized to the public, the focal point to check is Department of Foreign Affairs office and ask for officers who can assist you with scholarship information. The department have officers dealing with PNG’s relationships with foreign governments, multilateral and bilateral organizations. They will offer you valuable information. Getting to the correct officer can be quiet hard in PNG as you have to go through the security guards, office access restrictions and etc. The point is find a way to get in touch with officers. There are good officers that can really assist. One simple trick is to wait for the lunch hour and as officers walk in and out for lunch break, be courteous and ask. It’s all a matter of how you present yourself and communicate to them.
Also, check with your own department or organizational head. His/her office will have information as important circulars are circulated through the top level public service communication network. If he/she is someone who doesn’t share such information, ask his/her secretary or executive officer. They have the information that you might require. Scholarships information won’t attract disclosure policies in your organization so politely ask.
Foreign Government Embassies and High Commission Offices.
The very reason foreign governments have embassies and high commissions in PNG is to promote their country’s interest with the government and people of Papua New Guinea. So, visit their office, talk to a friend or relative who work with them, check their website or face book page. Below are the most popular Foreign Embassy or High Commission Facebook pages.
Your contact networks
During your line of work you will have built a network of contacts. It’s good to utilize those contacts and ask for scholarship. One of the common human communication tendencies is, people talk when asked. So when you have an opportunity to meet someone whom you know can help with information, just ask. It could be during tea/lunch breaks in meetings and workshops or just casual meet in a supermarket or anywhere.
Listen to and attend presentations.
Make time available to attend to and listen to presentations during visits by foreign government dignitaries and officials. This is very important for students particularly and also at work places for workers. You don’t just go there just to be part of the participants but attend with a purpose to get any relevant information that may be helpful in your area of interest.
If you want get any contact information, during these meetings, look for the support staff assisting the dignitaries. Kindly, strike a conversation with them that relates to the presentation or the event and then conclude by asking how to get more information. Since, they are so busy, they might give you a business card to contact them.
Do internet search using your keywords
Spend some time to do internet research around your scholarship of interest. If you are interested to scholarships from the European Nations, use search keywords like “ EU Scholarships for Developing Countries, “Commonwealth Scholarships, etc. If you are interested in scholarships form specific countries, then your keywords should be “ Australian Government Scholarships” “JICA Scholarships” KOICA Scholarships” , Chinese Government Scholarship” “ Indian Government Scholarships” and etc.
Once you are on the website, look at information’s like, the target/recipient country list, opening and closing dates, application process and etc.
Remember that looking for scholarship is just like looking for job vacancies. It requires effort and searching for the right one. Once you go through the process and secured it, it can a rewarding experience and excitement. Scholarships are not only meant for the scholarly and brightest minds. The are also also offered by foreign governments as gestures of friends and corporation between PNG and their countries.