Australia

SEAMEO -- Australia Programme of Cooperation
http://www.innovation.gov.au

Background

On November 1, 1973, Australia was admitted as an Associate Member of SEAMEO. The relationship began in 1971, when SEAMEO approached Australia in an effort to expand its membership.

Development and Forms of Assistance

Triennium Memorandum of Understanding

From F.Y. 1973/74 to F.Y. 1981/82, Australian contributions to SEAMEO were made on a fiscal year basis. After consultancies between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Education, diplomatic posts in SEAMEO Member States and the SEAMEO Secretariat were conducted; the Triennium Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was created. These three-year grants would detail the assistance of the Australian Government to SEAMEO, in order to maximize Australia's assistance to SEAMEO.

Commencing F.Y. 1982/83, the first Triennium MOU between SEAMEO and the Government of Australia was signed, covering a three-year period, to F.Y. 1984/85. Under the fourth and last MOU, the Government of Australia contributed A$ 2.935 million to SEAMEO, for the period of three years, commencing F.Y. 1992/93 to F.Y. 1994/95. The assistance consisted of two major parts: A$ 1.705 million for SEAMEO Project activities under the SEAMEO Institutional Linkages Programme, and A$ 1.230 million for the support of SEAMEO Non-Project activities such as Associate Membership Contribution, Untied Contribution to SEAMEO EDF and Scholarship Grant to SEAMEO EDF.

SEAMEO Educational Development Fund

The SEAMEO Educational Development Fund (SEAMEO EDF) was established in 1971 to serve as a repository for gifts to SEAMEO for support of Special Funds requirements. Since F.Y. 1973/74, the Australian Government has made contributions towards the SEAMEO EDF, consisting of Tied and Untied Contributions.

Tied Contributions are restricted for use by a particular Centre/Project or for a particular category of Special Funds in line with terms and conditions laid down by Australia. Contributions for scholarships are a large part of this area of funding. Untied funds are unrestricted in nature and are allocated to appropriate Centres/Project by the SEAMEO Secretariat.

Australia's contributions to the SEAMEO EDF, the total of both tied and untied contributions represented the biggest amount in its annual appropriations for assistance to SEAMEO. Australia's last contribution for F.Y. 1994/95 to the SEAMEO EDF amounted to US$ 29,608.00Untied Contribution and US$ 88,826.00 Tied Contribution.

SEAMEO Australia Institutional Linkages Project

The goal of the Project was to create mutually beneficial linkages between educational institutions in Australia and South East Asia, with the potential to be sustained in the future without development cooperation support. In order to achieve this goal, the Government of Australia assisted SEAMEO in establishing linkages between four selected SEAMEO Centres and interested institutions in Australia.

SEAMEO Centres involved in this project include:

SEAMEO Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (RELC)
SEAMEO Regional Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (TROPMED)
SEAMEO Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education (VOCTECH)
Other Contributions

Aside from annual contributions, the Government of Australia also supports special projects, training and workshops. One such instance occurred in 1997 when the Government of Australia assisted SEAMEO in conducting a team building workshop for the SEAMEO Centre Directors and SEAMEO Secretariat staff.

Programme Management System Pilot Project

Since late 1993, the SEAMEO Secretariat has made strides towards computerization of the Secretariat under the SEAMEO Management Information System Development Project based on computerization. This project was funded by the Australian Government with the SEAMEO Secretariat as the executing organization. The goal of the project was to improve the decision-making capacity of SEAMEO through the development of the Management Information System (MIS) of the SEAMEO Secretariat and the SEAMEO Centres. The specific outputs envisioned for this project were: Project Management System (PMS) Users Manuals and other documents, and Information Technology Policies and standards on Project Management System.

In early 1995, the Project was pilot tested in SEAMEO SEARCA and SEAMEO INNOTECH, Philippines. However, it was only in June 1998 that the effectiveness of the Project was evaluated by the SEAMEO Secretariat jointly with the Australian Government. Based on the findings made by the study undertaken by an Australian Consultant, and the Programme Officer (Development) of the SEAMEO Secretariat, the following recommendations were made.

  1. Improve system quality and relevance of reports
    Convert from DOS to Windows based System with Internet Browser
    Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for SEAMEO Centres/SEAMEO Secretariat/SEAMEO Council
  2. Enhance quality and usefulness of documentation
    Develop simplified User Guide
    Develop PMS Training Manual
    Develop promotional PMS Information Brochure
    Develop codified IT policies
  3. Provide mechanism for system sustainability (maintenance and development)
    Develop PMS Key Users/Administrators Advisory Group to monitor the need for maintenance and development
    Assign responsibility for system maintenance
    SEAMEO Centres to develop Strategic Action Plans for System Implementation and Training and User Responsibility for PMS
  4. Provide institutional strengthening of IT at SEAMEO Secretariat to facilitate sustainability of PMS project
  5. Provide technical assistance for 2 x 1 week workshops
  6. Government of Australia (GOA) to provide technical assistance for 2 x 1 week workshops to be coordinated by the SEAMEO Secretariat through one (or more) of the SEAMEO Centres in:

    Policy Development and Policy Analysis
    Development and Use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  7. SEAMEO Secretariat/GOA to develop Strategic Plan for further development of SEAMEO MIS.
    For FY 1997/98, the Government of Australia continued to support SEAMEO through its annual Associate membership contribution in the amount of A$ 20,000.In addition, Australia assisted in conducting two team-building workshops for the Secretariat and SEAMEO Centres. During the same fiscal year, Australia provided SEAMEO with the consultancy of Dr Kenneth Doyle who worked with the Secretariat to review and evaluate the SEAMEO Programme Management System Pilot Project. The Australian Government also provided direct contribution to SEAMEO SEARCA with the amount of A$114,090 through the project on the Development and Evaluation of Sustainable Production Sysytems for the Steeplands and the project on the Socioeconomic Evaluation of Soil Conservation Technologies for Upland Farming Systems in the Philippines. SEAMEO RECSAM and Deakin University collaborated on their ongoing twinning programme.

    For FY 1998/1999, besides the annual Associate membership contribution of A$20,000, direct assistance was given to SEAMEO Centres. Australia funded the feasibility study for the establishment of SEAMEO Regional Centre for Open Learning (SEAMOLEC) and continued to fund activities of SEAMEO SEAMOLEC. Pilot projects that were funded included the production of instructional modules to assist open learning English teachers, the establishment of a clearinghouse of information by Open University in Jakarta .Australia also cosponsored the SEAMOLEC annual Conference on Distance Education held in November 1999 in Surabaya. Through ACIAR, Australia funded four projects of SEAMEO BIOTROP(Biological control of water hyacinth in SE Asia, Biological control of Chromolaena odorata in Indonesia and the Philippines, Above-ground bio-diversity and productivity assessment for alternatives to slash and burn, Alternative toslash and burn agriculture in Indonesia) ACIAR also funded one project that involved SEAMEO SEARCA and Australian National University. This research project, which amounted to A$ 537,450, was on Improving Small Holder Farming Sysytems in Imperata areas of Southeast Asia: A Bio-economic Modeling Approach.

    For FY 1999/2000, apart from contributing its annual support of A$20,000, Australian Government in coordination with University of Melbourne, Radio Australia, The Higher Education Supplement of the Australian and Thai Airways sponsored the first SEAMEO-Australia Press award SEAMEO RETRAC hosted two Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development who helped the Centre in marketing and promotion.

    For FY 2000/2001, The annual support of A$20,000 continued along with direct assistance to SEAMEO SEARCA to support R&D projects through ACIAR. SEAMEO SEARCA received US$27,552 for the research project on Enhancing Farmer Adoption of Simple Conservation Practices: Land Care in the Philippines and also US$ 10,000 for University Consortium. ACIAR also funded the three year research project for SEAMEO BIOTROP on Reducing Alfatoxin in Peanuts Using Agronomic Management and Biocontrol Strategies. The SEAMEO-Australia Press award continued to receive the same support from Australia through the university of Melbourne and Asia Link Centre. AusAid also contributed A$ 10,000 towards participation of Education Ministry officials from Myanmar, Laos , Cambodia, and Vietnam in the 1st SEAMEO Education Congress in March 2001.

    For FY 2001/2002 besides the annual Associate Membership contribution of AUS $ 20,000 , Australia also funded two projects : one for SEAMEO SEAMOLEC on Distance Training for Open Junior Secondary English Teachers and the Use of ICT for Mathematics and Science Teaching" for SEAMEO RECSAM (in collaboration with other SEAMEO Centres and MOE from some MCs. SEAMEO SEARCA received the research support by ACIAR in the amount of US$ 26,413.10 and the funding( US$10,000 from University of Queensland , its partner in the University Consortium) while SEAMEO BIOTROP also received the research funding from ACIAR in the amount of US$12,132.
    The 3rd year SEAMEO-Australia Press award winner is from Vietnam News: Ms Nguyen Thi Le Huong with her article" Touching Stories Illuminate Young Minds". In addition, in- kind contribution was also given to SEAMEO BIOTROP and SEAMEO SEAMOLEC.

    For FY 2002/2003, the Government of Australia continued to support SEAMEO through Australia's Annual Associate Membership contribution by providing AUS$ 20,000 (about US$ 12,100). To support R&D projects and human resource development programs, ACIAR provided the fund amounted US$ 31,229.00 for the project on Enhancing Farmer Adoption of Simple Conservation practices: Land Care in the Philippines and Australia. Besides, SEARCA also received US$ 10,000.00 from University of Queensland and US$ 10,000.00 from Queensland University of Technology for developing training on Strengthening the Capability of the National Agricultural Fisheries Council and its AFCs to Effectively Conduct Social Mobilization. Australia Center for International Agricultural Research continued to support SEAMEO BIOTROP with the amount of AUS$ 16,622 for the research project on Reducing Aflatoxin in Peanuts Using Agronomic Management and Bio-control Strategies in Indonesia and Australia. The Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training, and the Education Section of the Australian Embassy in Bangkok continued to co-sponsor the SEAMEO-Australia award for the fourth year.