Participants of the 3rd World Peace Forum pose for a group photo at Tsinghua University in Beijing, June 21, 2014. (Photo : REUTERS)
A new A$100-million study initiative will make the Chinese mainland the most popular destination for Australian students, according to an Australian embassy official.
The amount covers for the first five years of the New Colombo Plan by the Australian government, which aims to support undergraduates to study and undertake internships in countries of the Indo-Pacific region.
"With the expansion of the NCP, and the close cooperation we are seeing (between China and Australia), it may probably overtake the U.S. in about a year or two," said Christopher Lawson, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy to China.
China is already second to the United States as the most popular destination for Australians studying abroad.
The NCP was piloted in 2014, sending 40 scholars and more than 1,300 mobility students to study and undertake internships in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia.
This year, Australia will send 69 scholars and more than 3,100 mobility students to 32 locations, including China, where 525 students will go.
Anne Baly, international group manager of the Australian Department of Education and Training, said that China was chosen as it is an important partner and a popular choice for Australian students.
There were more than 4,700 Australians that studied in China in 2014, up 37 percent from 2013, according to Baly.
There are 40 Chinese universities and institutions engaged in the mobility program, including Fudan University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University.
Cen Jianjun, director at China's Ministry of Education, said that the ministry will ensure that assistance will be provided to Australian students coming under the NCP.
Source - yibada