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  • Writer's picture2022 Global Voices Fellow

The case for a new New Colombo Plan

By Cameron Allan, Australian National University, Y20, 2020

Cameron Allan is one of Global Voices National Scholars. His policy paper focuses on The case for a new New Colombo Plan.

Executive Summary

The New Colombo Plan (͚NCP͛) is a significant government investment in Australia's Asia capability. Funded by the federal government, the NCP supports approximately 10,000 Australian undergraduate students a year to study and intern in the Indo-Pacific. Its success in attracting and engaging many Australian university students speaks to its entrenchment in the Australian student experience and its potential for shaping Australia's future professional class.

However, key features of the Plan's institutional design prevent it from fully delivering on its promise, particularly its mission to improve intercultural competence amongst participants. There are pedagogical and methodological angles for understanding these shortcomings. First, NCP is not informed by best-practice intercultural learning pedagogy, resulting in students underutilising their overseas experiences. Compounding this problem is NCP's programming structure, which does not financially support a variety of the most contemporary and innovative methods for extracting intercultural competence from the Indo-Pacific. By addressing these weaknesses, NCP would better achieve intercultural competency outcomes, thereby providing better value to both government and students,

This policy paper offers a roadmap for reforming NCP to maximise intercultural competency outcomes. Beginning with pedagogy, this paper illustrates potential interventions before, during, and after an NCP program, increasing the likelihood of participants developing intercultural competence. Later, this paper suggests NCP look beyond the paradigm of traditional exchange opportunities by encouraging universities to develop innovative non-mobile learning options.

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