ARARAT - Student teachers from Federation University Australia will be encouraged to teach temporarily in a major Chinese high school under a Memorandum of Understanding between Ararat Rural City Council, Federation University Australia and Taishan No.1 High School in China.
The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the guidelines to assist in locating student teachers to the High School to complement its existing English classes and cultural activities.
Ararat Rural City Council will liaise with FedUni and the High School to discover the availability and requirements of each institution.
Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said the establishment of the Memorandum of Understanding is a positive development for students across the region and builds on existing ties between the two cities.
"Students who have gone in the past have been in either their third or fourth year. Collectively they have all got a lot out of it. They've formed life long friendships and partnerships," he said.
"It isn't just a holiday, students are expected to work, but arising from that is the chance for them to experience another culture as well."
Under the agreement the Council will facilitate transport to China and visas while FedUni seeks to promote, screen and coordinate potential English and Australian cultural studies and prepare work programs.
Taishan No.1 High School will house, transport and financially facilitate students in China as well as their travel.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for our education students and we will promote this exciting program to our third and fourth year student graduates," Professor Todd Walker, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement), said.
"We look forward to working closely with Taishan No.1 High School to prepare work programs and joint objectives."
Cr Hooper said the agreement wouldn't be the end of council's efforts to strengthen relations with council to continue to investigate other opportunities to grow the relationship between the two countries.
"I think it's important we recognise the importance of China much more in this area. It is Australia's number one trading partner, that is very important and something we need to appreciate," he said.
"These arrangements have the ability to build and strengthen relationships so that we can continue to provide the educational opportunities for our children."
Federation University has campuses at Mt Helen, Horsham, Ararat, Stawell and Gippsland. Students from Ballarat are known to have participated in the past
"This is a great opportunity for people of the region to expand their experience with our focus on classroom teachers," Geoff Lord, Head of FedUni Campus, Wimmera, said.
"It is a renewal of an ongoing arrangement and commitment to school education and the arts. We want students to be deeply engaged in embracing cross-cultural studies."
The University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Battersby, will join Professor Walker and Professor Mike Willis in visiting Taishan No.1 High School in March.
A delegation from the Ararat Rural City Council will follow in September to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship.