The Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP welcomed the launch of the New Colombo Plan today which is an integral part of the Government’s policy to foster deeper relationships and understanding with regional neighbours.
“At its heart, the New Colombo Plan is an education initiative that allows the building of relationships through the experience of attending university in a different country,” Mr Pyne said.
The plan will include highly prestigious scholarships for the most outstanding students going for a semester or a year and a large mobility programme of grants and loans supporting many more students for periods from a few weeks to a full academic year.
“Australian students studying on the New Colombo Plan in the Asia-Pacific will develop a very valuable understanding of our region – a familiarity that will stand them in good stead throughout their careers,” Mr Pyne said.
“At a recent visit to Monash University with the Vice President of Indonesia, Dr Boediono, I witnessed the deep affection His Excellency had for his time as an original Colombo Plan student in Australia,” Mr Pyne said.
“Future leaders of neighbouring nations are already visiting and studying in our country and with the New Colombo Plan, our future leaders will similarly benefit by living and studying in our region,” he said.
“An additional benefit of students studying on the New Colombo Plan is the opportunity to have an internship or mentorship arrangement while they are overseas. This will greatly add to the value of the experience, and to their work-readiness and employability when they come home."
The Department of Education is working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to deliver the scholarships and student mobility grants and loans which are at the heart of the New Colombo Plan.