Students and academics from QUT, The University of Queensland and Griffith University heading to Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore for study exchanges under the New Colombo Plan Pilot Program were farewelled at QUT this week by Senator Brett Mason, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Senator Mason said the Government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) aimed to encourage a genuine two-way flow of students between Australia and the Indo Pacific region.
“The New Colombo Plan will help to promote Australia as a partner of choice in our region – leading to strong and enduring relationships with our neighbours, including closer cooperation in areas of strategic importance as well as broader and deeper trade, investment and research and development ties,” Senator Mason said at an Australia-Asia Education Engagement Symposium last month.
“The New Colombo Plan will also support Australian students to gain the skills, knowledge and cultural understanding they need to forge successful careers in light of the continuing shift in global economic power from the West towards the Indo-Pacific.”
The 48 students and two academics are part of the pilot phase of the NCP which includes scholarships for Australian university students and staff to study for one semester to a year in countries in the Indo Pacific region and a mobility grants scheme for short-term and semester study up to one year.
The NCP Pilot Program begins in 2014 with students studying in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said QUT had long-established partnerships in Asia and was embarking on a campaign to encourage more students to experience study at one of our close neighbouring countries.
“The NCP is well-aligned with QUT’s current strategies for increased participation in the region,” Professor Coaldrake said.
“QUT has a short-term goal of 15 per cent of graduates each year to have had an overseas study experience. Already, as a result of QUT and Government support, the number of QUT graduates who have had international exchanges has risen from around four per cent to 8.9 per cent in 2013.
“QUT has two projects in tranche 1 of the pilot phase in Indonesia – one a multi-faculty, short-term project with Bina Nusantara University and the other a business project at the University of Surabaya.”
Professor Coaldrake said the projects were the result of a visit to Indonesia last year that culminated in the signing of new partnerships with the two universities.
“QUT is also increasing our partnerships with Japan with new agreements with Nagasaki University and Ritsumeikan University.”
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