International collaboration for higher education in rural development in eastern Indonesia 


Charles Darwin University (CDU) staff were recently involved in a collaborative curriculum development workshop held in Soe, West Timor from 5-9 December.

The workshop, funded by the Crawford Fund,included participants from Indonesian universities, Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW), Salatiga and Universitas Nusa Cendana (UNDANA), Kupang. Queensland’s University of the Sunshine Coast are also partners but were unable to attend the workshop.

The workshop aimed to collaboratively develop a plan for a field intensive unit based on rural development issues, drawing upon action research and training activities coordinated by CDU’s Dr Bronwyn Myers and Rohan Fisher in eastern Indonesia. These have attracted about $900K of external funds to CDU over the past five years.

The original idea of the field intensive was conceived by Dharma Palekahelu of UKSW. CDU’s Dr Penny Wurm led the development of the workshop plan with Professor Carole Kayrooz, dean of Faculty of Education, Health and Science, facilitating the workshop.

The field unit, which will be taught by staff from the partner universities, will be offered to third year and coursework master students at the three universities, with enrolment and assessment at their home university. The unit will also be available as a workshop for Indonesian government and NGO staff.

This ground-breaking collaboration of international partners in curriculum development will see students and staff benefit from an inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary experience, including increased understanding of development activities in the region, graduates with skills to assist rural livelihoods, and strengthening of staff capacity within both Australian and Indonesian universities.

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