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Australia and Thailand boost education links

February 21, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced eight Australian high schools will participate in the Australia-Thailand school partnerships BRIDGE project.

Senator Carr said the Australia-Asia Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (BRIDGE) program establishes cultural exchange partnerships between schools in Australia with those in China, Indonesia, Korea and Thailand.

“School students in Australia are connecting with students across Asia to learn languages and gain knowledge about our respective cultures and they are using the latest digital technology and professional learning tools for teachers,” Senator Carr said.

The eight Australian schools to participate in the project are:

• Bundaberg State High, John Paul College (Daisy Hill) and Redcliffe State High School in Queensland;
• Doncaster Secondary College, Manor Lakes P-12 College and Wanganui Park Secondary College in Victoria;
• Cressy District High School in Tasmania; and
• Canberra Grammar School in the Australian Capital Territory.

These schools will be partnered with eight Thai high schools.

Senator Carr said participating Thai teachers will travel to Australia for a week in March 2013 to engage with their partner schools and Australian teachers will travel to Thailand in June this year.

“The Australia-Asia BRIDGE school partnerships program was featured in the Australia in the Asia Century White Paper as an example of innovative school partnerships,” Senator Carr said.

“Since 2008, 136 schools across metropolitan and rural Australia have established partnerships with schools in China, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.”

The Thai BRIDGE program is funded by the Australia -Thailand Institute (ATI) within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and managed by the Asia Education Foundation.

Senator Carr also welcomed the ATI’s Discover Thailand Scholarships.

“These top-up scholarships encourage young Australians to study in Thailand as part of their degrees,” Senator Carr said.

“I am encouraged by the demand for this initiative with nine of the 11 scholarships on offer already awarded to students for 2013 with three of the students having started their studies in Thailand in January.”

The ATI established this program to provide support for Australian tertiary students to study in Thailand for a semester or more in a broad range of disciplines.

The pilot program funds 11 scholarships of $4,000 each.

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