Undergraduate students in Australian universities may soon have an opportunity to pursue internship programmes in India under a new initiative. The New Colombo Plan, which offers Australian undergraduates new opportunities for prestigious scholarships and grants for study. Internships/ mentorships in the Indo Pacific region will include India too in the near future.
The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government, which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
This plan involves a scholarships program for study of up to one year and internships or mentorships, and a flexible mobility grants program for both short and longer-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research.
Institutes said that while informal talks have begun with Indian companies to have a regular project for students to work in Indian companies, once the government formally announces it, there could be regular interactions.
“Formal memorandum of understanding would be signed once the details of its implementation are given. This will be beneficial for students who are eager to move out of Australia and get a global business exposure. India will particularly will be a very important market with it being a major corporate hub in South Asia,” said a senior professor at an Australian university.
The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia’s relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other stakeholder links.
It will encourage a two-way flow of students with the region, complementing the thousands of students from the region coming to Australia to study each year.
The Australian Government has committed $ 100 million over five years to the New Colombo Plan. A 2014 pilot phase is currently underway, supporting around 1300 mobility program students and forty scholarship holders to study in four pilot locations – Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Next year, based on the response, this plan will be expanded to cover countries like India and up to 40 scholarships would be awarded to allow top Australian students to spend a year at Asian institutions. A close partnership between governments, universities and business will support the realisation of this important initiative.
Over time, the Australian Government wants to see study in the Indo Pacific region become a rite of passage for Australian undergraduate students, and as an endeavour that is highly valued across the Australian community.
Officials working on this initiative explained that this would be beneficial for high-research/innovation intensive sectors like pharmaceuticals, information technology and automation that could have students from Australia work in their Indian units.
“Since the governments would be involved, it would be a seamless exchange of new ideas and inputs. These students could stay back, if they and the company are willing to have them on a permanent basis,” said an education sector official.
This programme is open to Australian undergraduates aged 18 to 28 at Australian universities, with capacity to include some students over 28 in the mobility program.Arrangements for study, internships and mentorships are made by universities, their students and host institutions and organisations to suit the needs of all parties.
The 2015 Round will support approximately 60 scholarships and provide around $ 8 million in mobility grants for Australian undergraduate students.