New Zealand has announced the 171 exchange students to be supported by Prime Minister’s Scholarships who will travel to Asia and Latin America over the next year.
Minister of Education Jan Tinetti revealed that government-sponsored recipients will travel to countries such as China, India, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Chile and Colombia.
“The Prime Minister’s Scholarships offer a fantastic opportunity for New Zealanders to build global connections during their time learning and working overseas, while sharing Aotearoa New Zealand with the world,” Jan Tinetti said.
Diversity within outbound mobility is a key part of the country’s international education strategy, and the first round of scholarship recipients are from 14 groups.
“I am delighted that the interest in the program is continuing to grow, particularly among our Māori communities. So far this year, at least 50% of the scholarships have been awarded to individuals with a Kaupapa Māori focus,” Jan Tinetti stated.
“At least 50% of the scholarships have been awarded to individuals with a Kaupapa Māori focus”
The group scholarship recipients will undertake a range of learning experiences, from internships, language courses and study exchange, the minister added.
One example of the eight group awardees to Asia is the six-week Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato: tairua Māori ki Taiwan. Research has previously found that 60% of Maori DNA is in common with Taiwanese aboriginal DNA.
The four-week Victoria University of Wellington & Te Wānanga o Aotearoa program to Chile is one of six groups to Latin America. It will focus on Indigenous studies, development and language revitalisation aiming to connect Māori students with Mapuche students.
A recent meeting at Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) in Chile offered the Indigenous peoples “a great moment to promote respect for and the importance of each ones identity”, according to UFRO director of the Institute for Indigenous and Intercultural Studies, Osvaldo Curaqueo Pichihueche.
“This initiative allows us to recognise and value our identities and knowledge, and to interact and share on the basis of the activities and protocols that are characteristic for each of these Indigenous cultures,” he added.
Speaking with The PIE earlier this year, Tuari Potiki from University of Otago, noted that while Indigenous students really wanted to travel, they “wanted it to be an Indigenous experience”.
There has been a move to drive international exchange participation among Indigenous students in recent years, with York, Western, UBC in Canada and the University of Sydney in Australia just some of the institutions with targeted programs.
Along with Indigenous studies, the recipients of the first round of Prime Minister’s Scholarships will do study, research and internship programs in sustainable development, entrepreneurship and health over six to nine weeks, Tinetti explained.
A second round of scholarships will open for individual applicants in August. Since 2013, the Prime Minister’s Scholarships program has awarded 3,050 individuals.
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