Scholarship for indigenous students

EDUCATION New Zealand (ENZ) will fund The Whakatipu Scholarship for Malaysians studying at the Universiti Malaya (UM) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Worth RM15,000, the scholarship awarded to three indigenous students will include course-related and internship costs, ENZ said in a statement.

Through the scholarship, students will have the opportunity to attend UM’s Indigenous Knowledge and Scholarship course, and a Te Reo Maori (Maori language) course via FutureLearn.

FutureLearn is an established United Kingdom-based online education platform which ENZ has been collaborating with since June this year to showcase a selection of taster courses from New Zealand institutions to online learners worldwide.

Scholarship recipients will also have the opportunity to be a part of the Te Aka Internship programme at the NZ High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, providing them with the unique opportunity to gain further exposure to NZ and build relationships to support a thriving partnership between both countries.

This first-ever scholarship targeted at the Malaysian indigenous students is an extension of ENZ’s ongoing indigenous-focused initiatives.The scholarship is part of a new partnership between ENZ and UM to collaborate in new ways and continue to build and share expertise in areas of mutual interest, with a special focus on indigenous education and inclusion.

The partnership was announced during an online launch fronted by NZ High Commissioner to Malaysia Pam Dunn, and UM Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences dean Prof Datuk Dr Danny Wong Tze Ken on Oct 1.

Since October last year, ENZ has joined hands with the NZ High Commission Kuala Lumpur and local partners including UM’s Centre for Malaysia Indigenous Studies (CMIS), community-led creative arts and management organisation The Tuyang Initiative, and activist group Orang Asal Academic and Activism to organise a series of online events and webinars that celebrate and honour the indigenous cultures of Malaysia and NZ.

The partnership with UM, said Dunn, is significant and will support a deeper mutual understanding of the indigenous cultures of both countries.

“We have many common interests, underpinned by a strong relationship since Malaysia’s independence. This inaugural scholarship for indigenous Malaysian students is another milestone in our education relationship and will help to promote and celebrate indigenous cultures.”

ENZ regional director (Asia) Ben Burrowes said The Whakatipu Scholarship gives students the opportunity to not only be part of the dynamic student community of UM, but also learn more about and familiarise themselves with NZ, particularly its indigenous culture, and Te Reo Maori.

“Although the pandemic has obviously affected international students’ mobility and learning, we are proud that this partnership is still making learning accessible and providing students in Malaysia with the opportunity to experience NZ’s special learning and work environments.”

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