Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows from the Asia-Pacific region are having an impact on key areas of importance to the region, including science, health, and education, according to a new report published by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK today.

The report, which analyses survey responses from former Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows from 14 Commonwealth countries in the Asia-Pacific region, looks at how alumni are using their skills and expertise to have impact in their home countries in areas such as agriculture, innovation, and environmental protection.

Findings show that 99% of survey respondents from the Asia-Pacific region gained skills and expertise and 92% use these at work. 84% reported having an impact in their home country through specific projects, influencing government policy, or wider socioeconomic impact. Examples include working with government ministries to draw up inclusive education policy, implementing a new system of weather forecasting, and developing renewable energy using hydrogen and biofuel technologies.

The author of the report, Nyssa Lee-Woolf, says that its findings are positive for the region as a whole. ‘The Asia-Pacific region covers a huge geographical area – from Malaysia to Samoa – and a diverse range of countries at differing stages of development. Our study has shown that Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows are making a positive impact on issues such as climate change and economic growth, which affect the whole region and beyond.’

The report, launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, was welcomed by Professor Tim Unwin, the Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. ‘Commonwealth Scholarships have a wide and far-reaching impact, and it is positive to see that alumni from the Asia-Pacific region have not only returned to their home countries, but are also making valuable and ground-breaking contributions’, he said.


Notes to editors

  1. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC) is responsible for managing Britain’s contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), established in 1959, and supports around 700 awards annually.
  2. UK Commonwealth Scholarships are funded by the Department for International Development (for developing Commonwealth countries), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Scottish Government (for developed Commonwealth countries), in conjunction with UK universities.
  3. The report Assessing impact in the Asia-Pacific region is available online. Hard copies are available on request, and the CSC is also able to provide specific case study material.
  4. The report is based upon responses to an evaluation survey from alumni from 14 Commonwealth countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, Kiribati, Malaysia, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
  5. The evaluation survey was conducted in July 2008. 2,226 alumni responded; this sample was broadly representative of the whole alumni group. Respondents were asked to provide factual data (such as career history, public offices held, awards and honours received) plus their views on how their scholarship or fellowship had benefited them and their society. Specifically, respondents were asked about their involvement in 12 key development and leadership priority areas, and asked to give details of specific roles, projects and activities.
  6. The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The Plan was established at the first Commonwealth education conference in 1959 and is reviewed by education ministers at their triennial meetings.
  7. For further information, please contact Natasha Lokhun, +44 (0)20 7380 6760