Scholars embrace innovation during COVID-19

Albert Einstein famously remarked that in the midst of crisis lies great opportunity.

More than 200 long-term Australia Awards scholars from PNG are putting this idea into practice by embracing innovation to continue their studies during COVID-19.

One of those scholars is Wavie Kendino, who was only a few weeks into her Australia Awards Scholarship to study a Master of Commercial Law in Melbourne when the pandemic was declared.

After seven years as a corporate lawyer in PNG, Kendino fully expected new challenges but a global pandemic was not one of them.

The arrival of COVID-19 required some quick adjustment to new study methods as universities moved classes online.

“Online platforms are not the same as being in class physically…but I’ve embraced the online learning modules which require a lot more discipline,” Kendino says. “I’ve learned to continue developing my analytical and critical thinking skills.

“I’m a positive and prayerful person, so I’m taking each day as it comes and looking to find the positive in each day.”

Fellow awardee Diana Wally, who is studying in Perth, shares a similar view.

“I embraced the online sessions [using Zoom meetings] from the first moment,” Wally says. “I have more time after online sessions to prepare for my assessment, reading and managing my study and life.”

Wally is completing a Master of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Curtin University in Western Australia, on study leave from Bank South Pacific in PNG. 

In addition to innovative learning, she is using online tools to communicate with her employer and colleagues back home and host sessions on financial literacy for PNG small businesses.

Despite the uncertainty of the current circumstances, the two women encourage fellow awardees to remain resilient and make the most of the opportunities available.

“Transitioning to online learning may sound challenging, but it is achievable through effective communication with all stakeholders, and adhering to authorities’ advice on social distancing and other health tips,” Wally stated.

Applications for Australia Awards Scholarships Intake 2021 are open until 30 June 2020. To find out more visit

(Wavie Kendino during an online lecture)

Press release