student profile: Mrs Trina Supit


Biographical details

A case study of the effectiveness of the rebuilding of the East Timor education sector between 1999 and 2002 by the UN and other international agencies.There will bea particular focus on the interactions between international organisations and local groups/stakeholders in the post-conflict social reconstruction.

Conference presentation:

Thesis work

Thesis title: The Rebuilding of the Education Sector in East Timor during the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) 1999-2002

Supervisors: Timothy ALLENDER , Elizabeth CASSITY

Thesis abstract:

This thesis examines the rebuilding of the education sector during the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) 1999-2002, after the deliberate destruction of infrastructure and records by the Indonesian army and East Timorese militias following the referendum in August 1999. A focus is the historical legacy and its impact on policy development and implementation, particularly in the areas of language and curriculum. The role and influence of international actors and their collaboration with the East Timorese form a key part of the study as well.«br /» The thesis analyses the interrelated issues that emerged regarding East Timorese education particularly the clash between East Timorese nationalism and Western neo-liberalism as principally applied through the World Bank. The research references the theoretical understanding of globalisation as it applies to education. The study draws on documentary evidence from the period and interviews with key players involved in decision-making during this time: Timorese education administrators and members of the UNTAET education division.«br /» Also discussed are the key policy constraints which confronted the East Timorese as they endeavoured to rebuild their education system after the departure of Indonesian teachers, tertiary staff and administrators. «em»Terra nullius«/em» was how the first internationals arriving in Dili in 1999 described the country. This was the result of mass violence and destruction after the referendum results were announced and it became known that the close to 80 percent of Timorese had chosen independence rather than special autonomy within Indonesia. The East Timorese rapidly embarked on a recruitment of teachers for the “emergency” and then for the new school year in 2000/2001. The East Timorese administrators gained a wealth of skills and knowledge in this and other undertakings in which they had no former experience, but which they then applied to further recruitments and other policy implementation.«br /» As part of this educational rebuilding the thesis examines how the legacies of Portuguese and Indonesian education impacted the selection of textbooks, the re-introduction of the Portuguese language to East Timorese classrooms, teacher training and turf battles with the World Bank over policy control during the rehabilitation of school infrastructure.


  • University of Sydney Chancellor's Committee

  • Leichhardt Council: Friends of Maliana committee

Awards and honours

  • 2010 ANZCIES Travel Scholarship

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