The state of Queensland seems to be the most favoured destination this year for Indian students looking at Australia for further study.
According to IDP Education Australia's survey of universities in the country for the first semester in 2004, there were 2,963 Indian students enrolled in Queensland universities. This makes it an increase of 64.6 per cent from the first semester in 2003 when there were 1,800 students.
Onshore, Indian students are the second largest cohort (after China) of international students studying at
universities in Queensland and India is the fastest growing international student group in Queensland universities in terms of commencing foreign students for the first semester in 2004.
In the first semester of 2004, there were 1,456 commencing full-degree Indian students studying in universities in Queensland, which is more than double the number (642 students) which commenced in first semester of 2003.
Making most of this growing Indian interest in Queensland universities, the Griffih University in Brisbane is calling for applications to its newly launched Border-Gavaskar Masters Scholarship.
As Michael Jeh of the Griffith Sports College explains, "This is not a sports scholarship, but Griffith's Border-Gavaskar Masters Scholarship is purely an academic scholarship. We are targeting the very best Indian students who have a commitment to make a difference to the India of tomorrow. The scholarship is being offered to create a lasting legacy in India."
Applications for the fully paid ABSG Masters Scholarship, which is currently open to any Indian resident, close on September 19 with the winner to be announced at a press conference in the presence of leading cricketers Allan Border of Australia and Sunil Gavaskar in November to coincide with Australia or India winning the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
The selected scholar will commence study at Griffith in January 2005.
On the university's Web site, a statement from Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar says, "Cricket has been tremendously important to us in shaping our lives. However, there is life after cricket and education is the key that can unlock the future.
We are delighted to endorse the Border Gavaskar Masters Scholarship and we look forward to the time when the winners of this award will be able to contribute to public life in India after they have successfully completed their study at Griffith."
"It is a prestigious academic scholarship targeting the very best talent that India has to offer. Griffith University is looking for someone who can do justice to the reputations of these two cricketing legends," adds Jeh.
The value of the scholarship includes full tuition fees 15,000 to 32,000 dollars; Living costs to the tune of 13,000 to 15,000 dollars; Overseas Student Health Cover of 316 dollars per year; Student Service Charge of 122 dollars per semester; Capital Development Charge of 50 dollars and application fee for admission form of 50 dollars.
The eligibility criteria will include a recognised first class honours degree with 70 per cent or above and a minimum English proficiency requirement that is an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with no sub-score below 6.0.
Professor Patrick Weller, Dean (International Quality and Policy) at Griffith University says, "India is a tremendous market for us with enormous opportunities to move into areas other than the traditional fields of study like physiotherapy, nutrition, health care, environmental sciences and so on. I would like to see a two-way exchange between the two countries."
The State of Queensland and Karnataka have a Memorandum of Understanding on Education and the state's Trade and Investment office will be opened in Bangalore this September.
As Ian Hawke, Director of the Queensland Government's Office of Higher Education says, "Significance of India in higher education has the potential to grow in the coming decade. Indian students' initial focus on Information Technology has ebbed away, but it has been replaced by an entire array of disciplines viz environmental management, allied health, creative industry, bio and nano-technologies. However, MBA still continues to be the core area of study."