Nov 10, 2015 at 12:00am ET By Elizabeth Koprowski

The Australian government has committed to improving educational mobility and has been working to increase funding, develop international partnerships, and support exchange programs for students in higher education. Last month, Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister for Tourism and International Education, announced that the Australian government would be releasing A$8.3million to fund Endeavor Mobility Grants (EMG). The increase in funding will raise the number of students who receive EMGs from 1600 in 2015 to 2870 in 2016.

 

The Grants, which are available for undergraduate and graduate students in university and vocational education and training (VET) programs, are aimed at sending Australian students abroad to study at institutions around the world. Students supported by EMGs can choose short-term and semester programs, as well as a range of practical training courses, internships, and volunteer opportunities. And while students can choose programs throughout the world (including Europe, Africa, and the Americas) the Australian government has worked to target programs and partnerships within the Indo-Pacific region.

Credit: The AustralianTo that end, the Australian government has also revealed the New Colombo Plan aimed at strengthening and developing academic partnerships and encouraging mobility between Australia and other Indo-Pacific countries. The New Colombo Plan will fund more than 450 mobility projects in the coming year, and will provide support to at least 10,000 students in the region in the next three years. There are also plans to fund Indo-Pacific-based study for nearly 5,500 students in 2016.

Senator Colbeck confirmed that the Australian government sees the value in international education and cooperation, and considers international studies to be vital to growth and development both in Australian and the Indo-Pacific region. While the increase in  EMGs and the New Colombo Plan are aimed at sending Australian students abroad, the EMG scheme also includes efforts to increase the number of international students in Australia.

Read more about studying in Australia.

Elizabeth Koprowski is an American writer and travel historian. She has worked in the higher education system with international students both in Europe and in the USA.

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