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Principles for virtual delivery of NCP mobility projects 2021

In August 2020 the Australian Government approved the virtual delivery by Australian universities of NCP mobility projects, as a temporary COVID- 19 response. Australian universities may apply to the NCP Secretariat, on a case-by-case basis, to deliver all or part of an approved NCP project virtually. Universities may also include virtual delivery as part of a 2022 Round application (see 2(c) of the 2022 Round Mobility Guidelines).

The delivery of virtual NCP experiences is helping Australian universities remain connected with overseas partners, building and reinforcing people-to-people, institutional and business linkages between Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Virtual mobility projects enable greater participation by students for whom international travel presents challenges.

These “Principles for virtual delivery of NCP mobility projects: 2021” replace those previously released in 2020. These Principles should be read in conjunction with the NCP Mobility Guidelines.

1. Parameters for virtual delivery of NCP projects

a) Innovation

DFAT encourages Australian universities to consider innovative ways to deliver international experiences virtually to students. These may include (but are not limited to):

  • Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) with partner institutions, with Australian students working with students and staff from Indo-Pacific institutions
  • Online International Learning (OIL) experiences –including exchange-based study with offshore partners (summer schools; semester-length study etc)
  • Internships and practicums with Indo-Pacific organisations, enabling students to expand their communication, team-work and problem-solving skills as they work across cultures, time-zones and languages
  • Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences where students collaborate in solving real-life business problems, working with partner corporations in the Indo-Pacific.

b) Quality

Virtual NCP experiences should not diminish the quality and impact of NCP projects. Students should establish life-long connections in the Indo-Pacific, deepen understanding of foreign cultures and increase their employability as graduates with global experience. Australian universities are responsible for the academic quality of the NCP mobility experiences.

c) Connection

DFAT prefers projects that establish a direct relationship between an Australian host institution and offshore host institutions, with potential for sustained linkages beyond the life of the NCP project.

While changes to the original host country and/or host institution/s is possible, such changes should be justified in the application to deliver an approved project virtually.

d) Inclusion

Universities should encourage and support participation by students who, if not for a virtual mobility experience, would be unable to participate in international mobility projects. Virtual opportunities can improve accessibility for students who have work, family, and carer, cultural or other commitments; or whose capacity to travel is affected by disability or health issues.

e) Value with money

Universities must justify the per student cost of virtual delivery. Given that virtual mobility projects do not incur international travel and accommodation costs, universities are usually able to allow more students to participate in virtual projects. DFAT expects larger projects to demonstrate economies of scale.

2. Use of NCP funding

a) Grant funds

Universities may draw on an NCP project’s grant funding (mobility/language /internship grants) to cover eligible per student costs of virtual projects. Universities may use grant funding to support language training delivered virtually from the host location by an accredited language school.

Mobility grants may be used to cover reasonable support costs associated with virtual experiences, such as special events in the host location for student/institutional interaction, payment of course fees at host institutions, and third party provider costs associated with internships. NCP grant funding may not be used for in-Australia travel, living costs, meals, or entertainment.

b) Administration funds

Universities may use NCP administration funds for the development and management of virtual components of NCP projects, in-Australia travel, living costs, meals, or entertainment, and/or any essential IT equipment. Universities may use administration funds to enable more students to participate in virtual projects. Further information about use of NCP funding for virtually-delivered mobility projects is available in the NCP Resource Centre on ISEO, with updates provided through ILO Bulletins.

c) Secondary locations

For the 2022 Round, Australian universities may nominate virtual delivery as a secondary location. This is intended to minimise the potential for future variations, recognising that international travel may remain restricted for a significant proportion of the 2022 Round.

d) Participating students

All students participating in the same virtual experience within an NCP mobility project should attract the same per student cost. A project may include different virtual experiences (host locations, duration) which attract different per student costs.

A student may participate in more than one NCP mobility project in addition to receiving an in-country NCP mobility grant. A student may participate in two virtual mobility projects. Universities should give preference for places in mobility projects to students who have had no, or fewer, previous NCP experiences.

Australian students should not receive a financial inducement for participation in an NCP project.

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