Asserting that India is the second largest source country of students who wish to study overseas, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today said they are looking forward to enhance the cooperation between the two countries in the field of education.
Bishop, who is on a four-day visit to India, made the remarks while addressing a gathering of students at St. Stephen’s College here.
“India is second largest source country of students who wish to study overseas. We look forward to extending the cooperation in the field of education to facilitate more student-exchange programmes between the two countries,” Bishop said.
The Australian minister also briefed students about the ‘New Colombo Plan’ which supports Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The number of Indian students studying in Australia is more than the number of Australian students studying in India. We have to catch up there. The plan will provide grants to students to pursue their higher studies in India,” she said.
The New Colombo Plan was launched by Australian Premier Tony Abbott during his visit to India in September last year.
The Colombo Plan was initiated in 1950 and students had visited universities in Australia to live and earn and then return to the home country, taking back a rich experience.
The new plan involves a scholarship programme for study of up to one year and internships or mentorships, and a flexible mobility grants programme for short- and long-term courses, internships, mentorships, practicums (practical section of a course of study) and research. It intends to encourage two-way flow of students in the region.
A letter of intent was also signed between University of Melbourne and St. Stephen’s College today to extend mutual support to each other in the academic field.
St. Stephen’s College Principal Valson Thampu, however, said details of the cooperation have not been worked out yet.
“We have signed a letter of intent today. What kind of cooperation it will be is yet to be worked out. It’s too early to say it will be a student-exchange programme as Delhi University doesn’t have a policy yet on transfer of credits. We will see how it goes,” Thampu said.