Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne have disclosed details of the 461 mobility projects that will be funded in 2016 under the New Colombo Plan. The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific by supporting Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in our region.
Speaking at the University of Western Australia, Minister Bishop announced that 38 universities and 11 university consortia would receive funding from the Australian Government to send more than 5450 students to 28 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific in 2016.
“Australian universities have continued to provide strong support for the New Colombo Plan mobility program and the opportunities it provides for Australian students to undertake short term and semester length study in our region,” Minister Bishop said. “Around 75 per cent of funded projects already involve an internship, practicum or other form of work-based placement or industry engagement.”
“These include practical placements for pre-service teachers, nursing and other health-service students, internships in a range of leading companies such as NAB, Mitsui and Hassell, and work experience with not-for-profit organisations such as Engineers Without Borders,” Minister Bishop said.
Minister Pyne said the expansion of the New Colombo Plan in 2016 would take the total number of students funded by the program to more than 10,000 over its first three years.
“New Colombo Plan students will return home with new insights and understanding about the region that will help them to contribute to the economic and cultural life of Australia,” Minister Pyne said. “Supporting students to engage globally is a core element of the Government’s draft National Strategy for International Education.”
Meanwhile a day earlier the Hon Christopher Pyne MP had announced that a code of ethics would be developed for international education agents, to enhance the quality and reputation of Australia’s international education sector.
Minister Pyne made the announcement at the Australian Council for Private Education and Training’s Asia Pacific International Education Forum and National Conference in Melbourne.
“The quality of the educational services that Australia offers to the rest of the world is an asset that we should protect and enhance,” Mr Pyne said. “International education is Australia’s fourth largest export industry overall and our largest services export ahead of tourism, so maintaining our strong reputation for quality is important.
“We are therefore working with the International Education Association of Australia to develop an industry-led quality assurance framework to help institutions manage their international education agents.”
Mr Pyne said the Australian Government was providing funding to develop an Australian code of ethics, as well as to carry out a feasibility study into an industry-led quality framework for agents.