English | Dzongkha Wednesday, December 13, 2017

43 Bhutanese receive Australian government scholarships

Dechen Wangmo, Thimphu
Nov 23, 2017

Pratima Pradhan will study Master of Cyber Security at ECU

The Australian government has awarded scholarships to 43 Bhutanese professionals. 28 of them are recipients of  Australia Awards, while the remaining 15 have been granted Endeavour Awards.

Pratima Pradhan, a Senior ICT Officer with the Department of IT and Telecom of the Ministry of Information and Communications, is one of the Australia Awards recipients.

Pratima had applied for Australia Awards twice before but her application was unsuccessful both the times. But she did not lose hope and gave another shot at it this year. And this time, it worked. “I am so happy and proud of myself,” she said.

“It already feels like a huge achievement even though the journey has just begun.”

Pratima will soon head to Perth, Western Australia where she will study Master of Cyber Security at the Edith Cowan University (ECU).

The 43 Bhutanese awardees come from various sectors and were selected on the basis of their potential to help build Bhutan’s institutional and human resource capacity in sectors such as education, engineering, energy, and governance, upon their return.

Pratima Pradhan, for instance, is among the first Bhutanese in the government sector who would be studying Master of Cyber Security. Her degree will go a long way in helping Bhutan address issues related to cyber security, which is a growing national concern.

“Cyber security is a priority concern in Bhutan just as it is in many other parts of the world. A lot of the people in the country are now online. Most of them are very active on social media. So, there are many concerns related to online security that need to be taken care of,” said Pratima Pradhan.

Like Pratima, 42 other scholarship recipients will pursue diploma and post graduate studies in various fields in universities and institutes across Australia. They received their certificates from the visiting Australian Ambassador, Harinder Sidhu, at the Farewell Event hosted by the Ambassador in Thimphu last evening.

The 2018 intake contingent joins hundreds of Bhutanese who have studied in Australia since the Colombo Plan period. Currently, there are close to 1,500 Bhutanese studying in universities and institutes across Australia.

The Australia Awards and Endeavor Awards are among the long standing fully-funded scholarships programmes of the Australian government. Hundreds of Bhutanese have benefited from the scholarship programmes. For instance, since 2007, close to a thousand Bhutanese, including civil servants and private and corporate sector employees, had received the scholarships.

The Ambassador also announced that the Australian government will provide 15 Endeavour Scholarships to Bhutan next year as well.

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