Ties between Australian and Indonesian universities are at a record high, with the number of formal agreements for research partnerships, staff and student exchanges and study abroad programs climbing to 254 by the end of last year.
There are also early signs of a tentative recovery in the number of Indonesian students coming to Australia to study – with September figures revealing 3,022 Indonesian students began a university course this year in Australia – up 5.5 per cent from the same time last year (2,865).
The new data sets the scene for a two-day meeting in Jakarta, which will bring together senior university leadership and Departments of Education from both countries. The talks aim to take these ties between the two countries to the next level of collaboration.
The forum will consider how to expand opportunities even further for joint research (particularly in health, tropical medicine and agricultural sciences), the exchange of students and staff, study abroad opportunities such as the New Colombo Plan, and forging closer ties between researchers and industry.
It builds on two highly-regarded executive training programs run in the past two years, which have enabled senior administrators from Indonesian universities to shadow the jobs of their counterparts in Australian institutions. The executive program is modelled on one run between Australia and China, which counts China’s Vice-Minister for Education, Dr Hao Ping, amongst its alumni.
Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Anne-Marie Lansdown said the deepening ties between Australia and Indonesia in higher education bode well for the prosperity of our nations and their people.
She said: “By forging closer ties between the next generations of Australian and Indonesian scholars, researchers, industries and executives, we lay foundations for even closer diplomatic, economic and trade relationships between our two nations.
‘Indonesia is such an important neighbour and regional partner for Australia. These partnerships between our universities strengthen knowledge of each other’s cultures, create closer links between our citizens, and open the door to vital research on shared health and agricultural challenges that are specific to our region of the world,’ she said.
These partnerships between our universities strengthen knowledge of each other’s cultures, create closer links between our citizens, and open the door to vital research – Anne-Marie Landsown
Universities Australia plays an important role for its member universities and Australia’s higher education sector by building such partnerships with university sectors in other countries.
This includes assisting in the delivery of scholarships from foreign governments to Australian students and universities, fostering partnerships through forums and delegations, and providing opportunities for university leaders from other nations to work-shadow their Australian counterparts.
The number of formal agreements between Australian and Indonesian universities rose from 118 in 2007 to 254 in 2014.