People Innovation Excellence

Challenges in Achieving Gender Balance within ADS Applications

Challenges in Achieving Gender Balance within ADS Applications

Dr. Ir. Nurianna Thoha, MBA




Australia and Indonesia have been development partners for many years, with a strong relationship stretching back to the 1950s. Through AusAID, the Australian Government’s overseas aid program in Indonesia provides Australia’s support in the areas of scholarships, education, health, rural development and the International Forest Carbon Initiative (

As one of the Australia’s support areas, scholarships have played a significant role in Australia’s development cooperation program in Indonesia, with around 11,000 scholarships provided over more than 50 years. The ADS program in Indonesia aims to promote private and public sector human resource development in areas of agreed development priority. This is achieved by providing post-graduate scholarships for Indonesians to study in Australia and by working in close cooperation with the Indonesian Government to deliver a program which is flexible to Indonesia’s human resource development needs. ADS continues to be a major component of the program with up to 350 scholarships offered in 2010 (

The main goal of ADS is to promote Indonesia’s human resource capacity to contribute to four areas of development priority (

  • Sustainable Growth and Economic Management;
  • Investing in People;
  • Democracy, Justice and Good Governance; and
  • Safety and Peace.

The Main Objectives of the ADS Program are (

  • To assist Indonesian public and private institutions meet identified institutional objectives and training needs through the provision of postgraduate education to selected staff;
  • To assist individuals to increase their capacity to contribute to Indonesian institutions and professions by the provision of postgraduate study opportunities in Australia;
  • To assist alumni of the ADS scheme to maintain and update their academic and professional skills;
  • To promote Indonesia and Australia’s equity in development policies;
  • To deliver training that complements the human resource development goals outlined in AusAID’s Indonesian Country Program Strategy; and
  • To select high quality candidates with the ability to succeed at tertiary study in Australia, with minimal extensions and with the ability contribute to Indonesia’s development.

In Indonesia, the ADS program is offered in 2 main categories: “Public” and “Open“.  Public sector applicants are employees from Government organizations, state universities and state owned enterprises. Open Category applicants are from private organizations and universities and this category is also open to recent university graduates.
A third category is called the ‘Targeted Category’. The candidates are employed by organizations which are identified by the Government of Indonesia and Government of Australia (through AusAID) as being strategically aligned with the Development priorities of the Government of Indonesia.   Candidates within this category may also be employed by government organizations, state owned enterprises, non-government organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and key state and private higher education institutions which service the training needs of these organizations. Within the Targeted Category, IDP as the AusAID appointed Managing Contractor for the ADS includes in its activities, engagement with 12 Government of Indonesia Key Agencies (GoI-KA) which consist of several Directorate Generals and Ministries and five Geographic Focus Areas that include Aceh, NTT, NTB, Papua and West Papua. These have been identified by the Governments of Indonesia and Australia as being strategically important to the achievement of goals and objectives contained within the Australia Indonesia Country Strategy 2008-13.

The number of ADS awards each year will depend on Australian government budget appropriations. In the 2010/2011 ADS cycle, 350 ADS scholarships are available for commencement in 2011/2012. The scholarships are allocated as follows (

    • 2/3 of all awards will be offered to applicants from the public sector category;
    • 1/3 of all awards will be offered to applicants from the open category;
    • Up to 50% of awards overall will be offered to applicants from the Targeted Category;
    • Up to 30% of all awards will be offered to applicants from Geographic Focus Areas. The geographic focus will include East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Papua, West Papua, and Aceh.
    • 90% of all awards will be offered at Masters level (315) and 10% of all awards will be offered at PhD level  (35); and
  • An equal number of awards will be offered to males and females                                        This paper will discuss issues in achieving gender equality within ADS applications by conducting a mini research.


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