New Colombo Plan: Australian students’ learning in and engagement with Asia
Australia’s future is increasingly connected with Asia. Preparing young Australians to learn and understand about the people, cultures, societies as well as professional practices of this region is critical to Australia’s economy and prosperity. This Future Fellowship project explores Australian students’ learning in and engagement with Asia through the New Colombo Plan (NCP) program. Using a multi-method research design, it examines two issues of vital importance for universities and the nation: (1) the learning and engagement of Australian STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) students in Asia; and (2) the effects of their learning and regional engagement. The project addresses a critical need to have nuanced understandings of the longer term impacts of mobility experiences in Asia for all students and for the possibility of using student mobility to Asia as a mechanism of public diplomacy. It aims to generate practical recommendations based on sound theoretical perspectives and multi-dimensional empirical research that looks closely at different stakeholder views.
New Colombo Plan (DFAT)
The Abbott Government’s New Colombo Plan and predecessor schemes from the Rudd and Gillard governments have “potential to offer enormous benefits to Australian students, universities and communities,” according to new research for the International Education Association of Australia by Ly Thi Tran and Mark Rahimi from Deakin University.
This Research Digest provides a review of government policies and existing research on the NCP. It begins with an overview of the NCP and a discussion of the context for the Colombo Plan and New Colombo Plan. It provides comparisons with some international policy settings and trends on student mobility. It then discusses existing research on Australian students’ learning abroad via the NCP. This will be followed by a summary of the surveys on the NCP commissioned by DFAT. The Digest concludes with implications for practice and further research.
Learning in and engagement with the Indo-Pacific region has helped some students shift from ‘normal’ ways of thinking about life and career prospects, to being more aware of their own capabilities and potential (i.e. the ‘new possibles’) – something which they thought impossible prior to their experience in the region.
The number of Australian students studying overseas during their undergraduate years has increased rapidly over the past decade, with one in five undertaking learning abroad. A national investigation into the learning and cultural experiences of Australian students in Asia will examine how international study affects formation of their identity, career directions and future aspirations.
Global connectivity is at the heart of UQ’s vision to create knowledge leadership for a better world. Partnering with leading research institutions, government bodies and community groups around the world – particularly with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific – is helping us find solutions to the biggest challenges of our time including coral reef conservation, sustainable energy, and disease control.
The Australian Government is offering 140 Swinburne students the opportunity to participate in 11 new mobility projects across the Indo-Pacific region as part of the 2018 New Colombo Plan mobility grants.