The education minister of India, Dharmendra Pradhan along with his Australian counterpart, Jason Clare held the first ever Australia India Education and Skill Council (AIESC) meeting on Monday at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar. The aim of the meeting was to foster collaborations in education and skill training for the mutual growth and benefit of both nations. The meeting was also chaired by the Australian minister for skills and training, Brendan O'Connor.
Pradhan said that the meeting marked progress in mutual recognition of qualifications, establishment of a joint working group, joint skill collaborations, partnerships between higher educational institutions on joint degrees, capacity building of teachers, collaborations in early childhood care and education, study in India, visas for Indian students and research scholars, among others. The Indian education minister further announced that the two countries have reviewed their bilateral cooperation in education and skilling and agreed to further strengthen knowledge and skilling partnerships for greater mobility and employability. “In the areas of agriculture, water management, healthcare more research, student and faculty exchange programmes, dual degree, joint degree will be there because of these agreements,” said Pradhan.
Agreement between universities of both countries
The two ministers also presented different agreements between India and Australian higher educational institutions. Australia’s Innovative Research Universities (IRU) – a network of six public universities – will explore the possibility of offering their degrees to Indian students within India. The IRU includes Flinders University, Griffith University, James Cook University, La Trobe University, University of Canberra and Western Sydney University. Deakin University, one of the first Australian universities to open campuses in India, signed an agreement with IIT Gandhinagar. The partnership will focus on mobility, faculty exchange and a joint doctoral research programme. It will also provide opportunities for bilateral funding for workshops and conferences. The collaboration will also pave the way for IIT Gandhinagar students to transfer into higher studies and research at Deakin University in both Australian and the GIFT City campuses.
The Deakin University and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) will launch an online “job-readiness programme”. The programme will be a pathway to a degree programme in Deakin University with the help of course credits. Monash University signed an agreement with IIT Hyderabad. They will focus on research on critical minerals among other areas. On his second visit to India, Clare said: “India is embarking on a nation changing path. India has set a challenge for us to be partners in India’s endeavour to increase student participation in higher education. There are 450 research partnerships between India and Australia and we have added four more today. Tomorrow we will get to see the Deakin and Wollongong campus being built in the gift city. Setting up a campus provides an opportunity for Indian students to get a quality education at half the price,” Clare and Pradhan will visit the new campuses of The University of Wollongong and Deakin University in GIFT City tomorrow.