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A Strategic Approach to Scholarships. Making the Best Use of the Opportunities Available. Dr John Kirkland Deputy Secretary General (Development). A Changing Environment - from a donor perspective.

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A strategic approach to scholarships

A Strategic Approach to Scholarships

Making the Best Use of the Opportunities Available

Dr John Kirkland

Deputy Secretary General (Development)

A changing environment from a donor perspective
A Changing Environment- from a donor perspective

“Twelve years ago 30,000 post-graduate students came to the UK from outside the EU. Since then that number has gone up by 160 per cent. British universities actively market themselves, and many offer their own scholarships. So we need to focus on the value-added from the FCO’s scholarship schemes. This value-added is the creation of relationships between the United Kingdom and the international leaders of the future.”

UK Foreign Secretary, David Milliband

13 March 2008

The implications
The Implications

Will we need fewer scholarships?


  • Higher education more market driven than ever

  • More competition than ever

  • Strong recognition of higher education in development

  • Ambitious targets for staff development in higher education

A strategic approach to scholarships

Do we need more focus?


  • The more scholarships there are, the more institutions and governments need to take a strategic approach

A strategy comprising






Career Development

A Strategy Comprising

A strategic approach to scholarships

Do African Universities want scholarships to:

  • Reward the best candidates academically

  • Support candidates that will add most value

  • Develop strategic areas

  • Have the maximum catalytic impact

  • Help develop international education/exposure

  • Help promote equity (gender, minorities, etc)

Which candidates best meet these objectives
Which candidates best meet these objectives

  • Candidates with the strongest academic record

  • Candidates with ‘need’

  • Candidates showing most commitment/potential

  • Candidates who have not previously had overseas exposure

  • Candidates in certain subject areas

  • Candidates with specific personal characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc)


Methods may vary according to donor requirement, but . . .

  • who is involved? (high level, open, strategic)

  • pro-active or re-active?

  • academic or professional?

  • relevance to strategic planning?


Can the number or value of scholarships be increased by

  • greater awareness of existing opportunities

  • influencing donor priorities

  • more clearly stating institutional needs

  • leveraging internal funds

  • attracting new donors

  • building on existing collaborations

  • working together with national bodies/other recipients to add value


  • To potential recipients

  • To decision makers within the university

  • To donors

  • To scholarship holders whilst on award

Career development
Career Development

How can institutional objectives best be developed

  • before the scholarship

  • during the scholarship

  • after the scholarship

What help is needed? What barriers exist?

A strategic approach to scholarships

. . . But also placing scholarships into context

  • as a preparation of staff development

  • in terms of impact

  • in terms of risk

  • in terms of staff effort

. . . If you could do things better please tell us!