Singapore has joined Indonesia in signing up to the Abbott government's flagship Asian education plan.

Singapore's leaders have agreed to take part in the 2014 pilot phase of the New Colombo Plan after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop personally spruiked the policy during a brief visit to the city state as part of her regional introductory tour.

The developments comes just a few days after Indonesia signed on, following a meeting between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta.

The plan aims to dramatically lift the number of Australians studying in Asian universities and vice versa.

Ms Bishop said she was very pleased Singapore had accepted her invitation, saying it has a number of world-class universities.

"This is another vital step in ensuring the New Colombo Plan becomes a reality, " Ms Bishop told AAP on Friday.

Ms Bishop hopes the scheme - which is expected to cost the government $100 million over five years - will foster closer ties between Australia and the region.

She also wants Japan and Hong Kong to take part in the pilot phase. She'll try to win them over when she visits North Asia later this month.

Other countries will be invited to join the program when it's fully up and running in 2015.

Ms Bishop's scheme is named after the Colombo Plan, which saw 40,000 future Asian leaders come to Australia to study from the 1950s to the mid-1980s.

 

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