PIES

The Partnership in Islamic Education Scheme brings selected participants to the Australian National University to study for two semesters. To apply for the program, participants must be employed as lecturers in an Islamic Higher Education Institution (Perguruan Tinggi Agama Islam: PTAI) outside of the two largest UIN, Syarif Hidayatullah in Jakarta and Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta. Applicants must be currently undertaking a PhD program (S3) in Indonesia and have finished their coursework. Six students are chosen each year through a competitive process from across Indonesia. PIES is committed to gender equity and so at least three of the chosen participants must be women.

Successful participants receive ten weeks of English language and cultural training prior to coming to Australia. In Australia they are based at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, in the Department of Political and Social Change (PSC) within the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Participants work with an Indonesianist as a primary supervisor, and take part in a program of seminars and skills workshops especially designed for them. They also undertake study trips to other universities in Australia and present their research at conferences and workshops.

The aims of the program are twofold. First, to provide individual participants with the resources and skills training to produce high-quality dissertations and assist them to graduate when they return to Indonesia. Second, to increase research and teaching capacity in participants’ home institutions through the building of academic and social networks, international experience and targeted training.

Who We Are

Director of PIES Associate Professor Greg Fealy

Academic manager of PIES Dr Sally White

Administrator of PIES Helen McMartin

History of PIES

The Partnership in Islamic Education Scholarships program, as it was called then, was the initiative of ANU’s Professor Virginia Hooker. Professor Hooker had previously designed and run several sandwich programs that brought postgraduate Islamic studies students from Indonesia to the ANU for a limited period but her motivation for the PIES program came from recognising the crucial role of staff in Indonesia’s Islamic higher education system. These staff members train and inspire current and future teachers of religion, religious officials and academics, and they serve as influential leaders in their local communities. Through her interactions with academics and students from this sector, Professor Hooker became aware that this group of lecturers were so dedicated to their work that they often did not have the opportunity to complete their own higher education. The special partnerships program was developed to give the participants time away from their daily duties in Indonesia to devote it to advancing or completing their Indonesian degrees.

Further, Dr Hooker recognised that some very talented students were missing out on the experience of studying overseas because they did not have the required level of English language to be competitive in applying for Australian government scholarships. For this reason, PIES has the unique feature of not requiring a specific level of English language capacity. Students can participate in the program simply with functional English, and over the course of program, can develop their English to a level where they can participate in international workshops and conferences. Such experiences greatly increase the networks and opportunities of PIES participants as well as enriching academic life in Australia and abroad.

The program began as an initiative under the umbrella of the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) and resulted from co-operation between the ANU and the Directorate of Higher Islamic Education (DIKTIS) at Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA). Funding came primarily from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The first group (PIES I), consisting of five students and under the directorship of Professor Hooker, spent two semesters in Australia in 2008-09. The second group also of five participants (PIES II) was in Australia in 2011-2012. This was the first group under the new Directorship of Professor Hooker’s colleague, Associate Professor Greg Fealy. A third and expanded phase of the PIES program, funded directly by Australia’s DFAT, allowed for three consecutive cohorts of students of six students each to study at the ANU. PIES III cohorts 1, 2 and 3 were at the ANU in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. A new phase, PIES IV, began in 2017, bringing six students to the ANU in 2018, with one more cohort of students will be selected in mid-2018 for study in Australia in 2019.

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