MORE than 3,000 students from 37 universities in Australia will live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region during the second year of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP).
Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop MP, and Edu-cation Minister, Christopher Pyne MP, recently announced that around 3,150 undergraduate stu-dents would be supported by the NCP mobility round for 2015.
“New Colombo Plan mobility grants will sup-port these students to study in 32 locations across the Indo-Pacific from India in the west to Mongolia in the north and the Cook Islands in the east,” said Julie Bishop.
Moreover, the expansion of the NCP in 2015 re-flects the strong support of partner governments for the plan’s aims of lifting knowledge of the region in Australia and for the plan to become a ‘rite of passage’ for Australian undergraduate students.
“The continued strong interest of students in gaining first-hand experience of business in the region will ensure they are well-placed to make a valuable contribution to the regional engage-ment of our business community and to driving economic growth in Australia and our region in the years ahead,” she added.
Furthermore, Christopher Pyne said that the NCP mobility grants are awarded to Australian universities to support their students to undertake a semester or short-term study in the region where these grants will support students to study at a university overseas for anywhere from a few weeks to a full semester.
The grants will cover studies, practicums, clinical placements, internships and mentorships as well as short-term researches across a broad array of disciplines, explained Mr Pyne.
The flexibility of this approach, he added, en-sures that the programme can support a wide range of students to experience the benefits of studying and living in the region.
The government has committed $100 million in new funding over five years to implement the NCP, in which the pilot year of 2014 is supporting 40 scholars and more than 1,300 mobility students to live, study and undertake a work placement in the four pilot locations of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore.
In a recent announcement by Bishop and Pyne, a group of 69 of Australia’s most talented undergraduate students have been awarded the NCP scholarships in the coming year.
The recipients, who will spend up to a year in one of 17 locations across the Indo-Pacific region, had demonstrated academic excellence, a strong commitment to engaging with neighbours and the character to represent Australia with distinction, according to Bishop.
“Sustained interest in the pilot locations of Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong has been complemented by demand by exceptional students to study in Brunei Darussalam, Cambo-dia, China, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vanuatu,” she said.
In addition, the top-ranked scholar for each location will also receive the additional NCP Fel-low award in recognition of their achievements.
Furthermore, according to Pyne, the scholars came from 23 universities across all states and territories, reflecting the strong interest of universities and students – and the broader community – in strengthening ties with the region.
He also elaborated that the scholars will be studying in a wide range of disciplines, including languages and culture, law, business, engineering and natural sciences, with nearly all scholars planning to undertake an internship or a mentor-ship.
This announcement follows the NCP 2015 mobility round outcomes announced on Novem-ber 24, supporting around 3,150 students from across Australia to study in 32 Indo-Pacific locations.
The $100 million committed by the Australian Government in new funding is to implement the New Colombo Plan over five years. For more information on the NCP, visit www.dfat.gov.au/new-colombo-plan.