In November 2018, Prime Minister Morrison announced the Australian Government would deepen educational links between Australia and the region, including through scholarships for Pacific students to study in Australian secondary schools. As per DFAT’s Budget highlights for this year, this program has been allocated $66 million over four years.
The scholarships initiative responds to mutual interest in quality education between Australia and the Pacific. It will provide greater opportunities for Pacific students to attend an Australian secondary school for an international education experience. This will build on Australia’s strong commitment to education as a priority under Australia’s aid program. The scholarships will support the selected participants’ youth leadership development and transition home for further education, training or employment for improved social and economic outcomes in the students’ home countries. Education is a critical enabler of improved growth.
Students are expected be placed in CRICOS accredited Australian senior secondary schools for both study and accommodation in alignment with the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018. The delivery of education and general welfare on shore will need to be supported by a range of offshore and related services for scholarship selection and administration, as well as to mobilise and demobilise students upon the completion of study in Australia and engagement with the student and parents or carers throughout.
This scholarships package is currently undergoing design. Without pre-empting this, DFAT anticipates a likely need to approach the market in late 2019 to engage a Managing Contractor for the program for commencement in January 2020.
Subject to the final design, services that we may require from a Managing Contractor are likely to include:
- Establishing an in-country presence in up to nine Pacific Island countries, including with vernacular language capabilities where appropriate, to:
- advertise and promote awareness of the scholarship opportunity
- respond to inquiries from potential scholarship applicants and their parents or carers
- receive applications, confirm eligibility and shortlist against given selection criteria
- support scholarship interview panels for shortlisted candidates
- undertake all logistical pre-departure tasks for provisional scholarship awardees including school enrolment and immigration processes as arranged by DFAT and the Department of Home Affairs, as well as the practical elements of marshalling successful recipients, providing initial briefing to students and the parents or carers
- arrange and administer all student travel and accompanying parent/s or carer/s where required, including both in-country and international, and potentially accompanying students on international travel to and from Australia
- develop post-scholarship reintegration for transition to future study, training or employment, as well as alumni engagement;
- develop and implement support structures for both general welfare and administrative engagement with the parents and 24/7 contingency response if required
- Administering the financial elements of the scholarship award on behalf of DFAT with Australian education providers and their accredited accommodation
- Monitoring and evaluation reporting in collaboration with accredited Australian education providers
- Familiarity with relevant Australian legislation with regard to the provision of education and general welfare of students in Australia, including the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, its regulations and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018.
The parent or person who has custody of the scholarship student will at all times be legally responsible for the student.
Amongst other requirements, any arrangement with a Managing Contractor will need to meet DFAT’s Child Protection Policy and Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment Policy as well as relevant laws in Australia, including across relevant state and territory jurisdictions for child protection.
This Request for Tender will be released through AusTender.