02/05/2006 - 22:00

Fostering relations with China

02/05/2006 - 22:00

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Chinese students in Western Australia will soon have access to a single organisation that will coordinate and assist with schooling and associated issues in this state.

Fostering relations with China

Chinese students in Western Australia will soon have access to a single organisation that will coordinate and assist with schooling and associated issues in this state.

To be launched later this year, the Chinese Students Association Western Australia will act as an umbrella organisation to cater for Chinese students at universities (which have their own Chinese student associations), TAFE, high schools and private colleges in WA.

The association has been established in an effort to attract a greater share of the national intake of Chinese students, and to raise WA’s economic and cultural profile with China.

Through the association, older students will provide younger students with guidance and assist them to overcome language and social barriers in order to provide a positive learning and social environment.

Australia China Business Council vice-president Linda Liu Bearne told WA Business News that currently only 4,000 Chinese students of 81,000 nationally were studying in WA.

“Most of the students go to Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland; we don’t promote ourselves that well so we get very few of them,” Ms Liu Bearne said.

“If we look after these students [through the association] then we should be able to attract a greater share to Western Australia.”

She said Chinese students would also provide a good source of highly skilled staff for WA business and would be important facilitators of trade and investment in the future. 

“There are many children of influential Chinese business people in Perth,” Ms Liu Bearne said. “These students are the future leaders of China.

“Its important that they are looked after because if we offer them support then they go back to China and tell their friends that Western Australia is a great place to visit; then it easier for us to get more students.

“So the idea is to raise the profile, raise some funds and support these students.”

Ms Liu Bearne said WA would be the first state in Australia to establish such an association, which would send a strong signal that the association was serious about WA’s long-term economic and social relationship with China.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief executive John Langoulant said the chamber would be part of a committee to offer advice on the formation of the association.

“We see our sponsorship of students as the extension of business relationships with China,” he said.

“We will endeavour to support them. It is a good way of allowing students to keep in touch.” 

The chamber would also play an active role in helping to host and maintain the association’s website and to provide ongoing support to help with the mentoring of students.

The association will be launched at a gala event on September 22, which will celebrate the fusion of Chinese and Australian cultures and encourage excellence in the Chinese leaders of the future.

Sponsors will be sought for the function, with the funds raised used initially for a social event that is open to all Chinese students in Western Australia.

Further funds will be used to encourage local business engagement and mentoring of Chinese students and to further raise the profile of the association.

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