The Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC) invests in people-to-people links through the Australia-ASEAN Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (BRIDGE) School Partnerships program.
The program was launched in May 2016 and aims to connect teachers, students and school communities with counterparts in South-East Asia to build lifelong partnerships through innovative programs, curriculum resources and networks.
Teachers participate in professional learning programs that develop cultural knowledge and awareness, improve English and Asian language skills, enhance information and communication technologies skills, and contribute to communities of learners.
In 2016, the AAC BRIDGE program supported five schools each from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to establish partnerships with 15 Australian schools. The program expanded in 2017 to include Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei; and in 2018 included Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Indonesia has a separate BRIDGE program managed by the Australia-Indonesia Institute.
Over time we expect that the BRIDGE program will contribute to greater interest in South-East Asia among Australian students and school communities, as well as for students from South-East Asia to study in Australia.
The AAC BRIDGE program is managed through the Asia Education Foundation.