Monash University in Melbourne has signed a formal agreement with the Indonesian government to strengthen ties between the two countries as Australian universities attempt to diversify and move away from China.

On Thursday, the university signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology to “forge strong and institutionalized partnerships.”

In November, Monash also became the first international university to be licensed to establish a physical campus in Indonesia with the goal of enrolling thousands of students per year. The Jakarta campus will be purely postgraduate and will offer master’s and doctoral degrees, with the first students scheduled to start in October this year.

In the next 10 years, the Indonesian campus aims to grow to 2,000 master’s students, 1,000 “executive students” and 100 doctoral students each year, according to the university’s recruitment website.

The University of Western Australia has also developed a plan for 2030 that “increasing our engagement with Indonesia” is “vital”.

A December analysis conducted by Austrade found that Indonesian students contributed $ 1 billion to Australia’s economy in 2019, with 18,091 students in Australia.

And while overall international student enrollments fell 4.9% during the pandemic, Indonesian enrollments fell only 0.9%.

The report found that “strong economic growth” in the country was stimulating demand for quality education and “industry demand for quality training cannot be fully met at the local level.” “This presents opportunities for Australian suppliers,” he says.

International student tuition fees accounted for $ 10 billion in revenue for Australian universities before the pandemic, with many now facing significant loopholes as international borders remain closed.

In February, international students and education officials warned that many students who intended to study in Australia were opting for Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States instead, as the borders of the Australia remained closed.

Universities across Australia are also offering discounts of up to 20% to international students who are still abroad and studying entirely online, to keep them enrolled at their institutions during the pandemic.

The Monash MoU will strengthen research ties and create research centers in order to “forge strong and institutionalized partnerships between universities in the two countries,” according to a spokesperson for the university.

He also specifies commercialization as an area of ​​focus, after Education Minister Alan Tudge called on universities to “Maximizes” marketing opportunities for research.

The agreement was signed by the Australian Indonesia Center, which is headquartered in Monash and is a consortium of 11 universities – seven in Indonesia and four in Australia. The four Australian universities are the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the University of Queensland and the University of Western Australia.

Dr Eugene Sebastian, executive director of the Australian Indonesian Center, said he “looks forward to the potential of this deal”.