In welcoming Prime Minister Abe to Australia, Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson underscored the importance of the Abbott Government’s push to deepen and strengthen higher education and research engagement with Japan as part of a broader thrust to enhance our economic and trade relationship.
The recently announced Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement includes provisions for further strengthening cooperation in higher education.
Ms Robinson was part of the delegation of business leaders who accompanied Mr Abbott on his recent highly successful visit to Japan that resulted in the announcement of the new trade agreement.
Universities Australia continues to play a leading role in supporting Australia’s commitment to Japanese engagement.
“In building on the work undertaken as part of the Prime Minister’s delegation to Japan, an Australia-Japan higher education strategy has been developed and is being actively pursued by a UA Japan working group led by Professor Kent Anderson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Adelaide in collaboration with Austrade and Australian Education International in Japan”, said Ms Robinson.
In addition, plans are underway for a series of Japan-Australia business-higher education roundtables, with the first one planned to be held in Japan at the end of this year.
Universities Australia has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan.
“Just two weeks ago we farewelled the first tranche of students who will study in Japan under the Plan. They head off as wonderful representatives of Australia and will no doubt return as enthusiastic ambassadors for Japanese education, culture and research”, said Ms Robinson.
Universities Australia was also privileged to have been recently invited by the Japanese Embassy to escort 29 Australian university students participating in the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths program to explore education and research opportunities in Japan.
“Universities Australia is exploring a range of new opportunities including models for joint degree programs, further staff exchanges as well as academic and research collaboration”, she said.
In 2014 Australian universities reported having 473 formal agreements with Japanese institutions, a 15 per cent (44 agreements) increase from 2012.