New Colombo Plan Reinvigorates Australian International Education

International mobility of Australian university students has largely increased since last year, according to the most recent release of an annual survey of Australian universities administered by the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training. Data collected from 36 universities indicate a 19.5% increase in the number of international experiences reported since 2014. Most notably, student exchange programs and faculty-led study tours were the most popular types of international experiences, at 28% and 26% respectively.

Altogether, the data sums up to almost 20% of all Australian graduates undertaking an overseas experience – compared to 15.1% of undergraduate Americans who studied abroad in the 2014-2015 academic year. The increase in the number of Australian students partaking in experiences abroad, specifically in priority country destinations as identified by the Australian government, is partly due to the efforts of the New Colombo Plan (NCP). Launched as a smaller pilot program in 2013, the NCP government initiative aims to maximize engagement of the indo-pacific in Australia by providing assistantship for international academic and professional experiences. 

Trevor Goddard, a member of the board of directors at the International Education Association of Australia and a member of the DFAT New Colombo Plan Reference Group, told the PIE News:

“[NCP] is starting to become woven into university marketing and recruitment, scholarship offices, alumni engagement, international and industry engagement offices and within the careers and leadership space – so not simply transforming students through their education, it is transforming institutional internal structures through capacity and services around student mobility.”

For more information on survey results, see the Australian Government’s Research Snapshot.