Canberra announces Maitri initiatives to support Indian students at top Australian unis

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The Maitri Scholars Program will provide over $11 million Australian dollars for four years to support Indian students to study at Australian universities, said Payne. Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Here’s some welcome news for Indian students planning to study at Australian universities: the Australian government announced a series of Maitri initiatives to boost its education and cultural ties with India. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the initiatives are called the “Maitrī”, meaning friendship initiatives. 

The Maitri Scholars Program will provide over $11 million for four years to support Indian students to study at Australian universities, said Payne at a joint Australia-India press conference on Saturday.

“The Maitrī Fellowships Program will provide $3.5 million over four years to build links between future leaders. It will support mid-career Australian and Indian professionals to collaborate on strategic research initiatives,” she said. 

“It will also provide over $6 million over four years under a programme which I think is an absolute initiative — the Maitri cultural partnerships, to support cultural exchanges and boost the role of the creative industries in our two countries.”

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The Maitri initiatives will also support mid-career Australian and Indian professionals to collaborate on strategic research initiatives. Source: Manpreet Romana/AFP

Scholarships to help Indian students study at top Australian universities 

Separately, Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the Maitri initiatives announced by Canberra for India are equivalent to Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships and cultural exchange programmes between the two countries, reported AzerNews, quoting Trend.

“… the first two are scholarships Fulbright and Rhodes scholarships are 45 for graduate students and undergraduate students. So you get all your education paid for, stipend to help with your living costs,” he said. 

Tehan added that there is an investment in fellowships; 11 fellowships for high-level doctoral students will also get a stipend is equivalent to Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships. “There’s a cultural exchange programme to improve cultural exchange between Australia and India. So these are fantastic initiatives to help continue to improve the wonderful relationship,” he said.

The scholarships will enable Indian students to go to Australia without worrying about the cost.

“All they’ll have to worry about is their study. So this is designed to get those high performing students to go to Australia and improve their education to levels of excellence, which then may now be able to come back to India and excel in India, and also help build the relationship between Australia and India,” he was quoted saying.

In speaking about the further initiatives and announcements in the next 30 days, he said: “We’re always looking at ways, how we can enhance the relationship. So this 15 million US dollars for the students to come to Australia is just one part of what we’re doing in these the cultural exchange that we’re also funding.” He added that “there will be many, many more announcements” expected in the next 30 days. 

Indian students have long been drawn to Australian universities due to the country’s high-ranking universities, among other reasons.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESA) notes that Indian students are the second biggest source of international students in Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously announced a slew of initiatives to woo international students back to Australian universities. This includes temporarily removing the work hour cap and offering visa rebates for students.