International higher education partnerships

Chinese and Australian higher education students are sure to benefit as their governments continue to forge closer educational ties. Education forms a significant part of the relationship between China and Australia and the renewal of the Australia–China Arrangement has strengthened the relationship even further.

The relationship has so far seen the introduction of the Australia–China Joint Laboratory on Nanoscience and the Universities Australia ‘China–Australia Executive Leadership Program’ — both of which allow institutions in Australia and China to transfer knowledge, develop relationships and compare their practices in higher education and research.

According to the Australian Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, the agreement “reinforces our countries’ mutual commitment to supporting greater student, academic and professional mobility between China and Australia, and to enhancing links between Australian and Chinese universities.”

Australia has also recently strengthened and renewed higher education agreements with India, Indonesia and Malaysia, ensuring ongoing institution partnerships, shared research and exchange opportunities.

Students from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia already make up a large percentage of Australia’s international students, and these agreements are poised to create even more opportunities for students from these countries to study and research in Australia.

According to a 2009 report released by Australian Education International, 154,777 Chinese students were enrolled in education programs in Australia, which represents 24.5% of all international student enrolments, while India ranked second, making up 19.1% of 2009 international student enrolments.

It is clear that students are already benefiting from these agreements.

For example, Edith Cowan University in Western Australia and Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China, recently launched an exchange program as a result of their international partnership. The program allows students from both universities to complete semester-long exchanges and participate in language and cultural studies.

In regards to research, the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne and the IITB–Monash Research Academy in Mumbai (between Monash University and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay) provide opportunities for students of Australian and Indian institutions to participate in joint research. These institutes also work to strengthen the relationship and deepen the understanding between Australia, India and the broader region.

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