This week’s meeting of the first Australia India Education and Skills Council is an important next step in strengthening Australia’s education and skills partnership with India.
The Indian Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the Hon Dharmendra Pradhan, hosted the meeting in the Indian city of Gandhinagar.
Minister for Education, Jason Clare co-chaired the meeting along with Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor who joined online from Australia.
Minister Clare also released the A Partnership for the Future – Australia’s Education Strategy for India.
This strategy sets out a range of different steps Australia will take to deepen our relationship with India, including through closer education and research partnerships, supporting student mobility and growing Australia-India alumni networks.
In March, it was announced that Deakin University and the University of Wollongong would establish campuses in India’s Gujarat International Finance-Tec (GIFT) City.
Today Ministers welcomed the imminent opening of the two campuses. Deakin University will open applications for students this week and both universities are expected to accept students from mid-2024.
Both universities are the first foreign universities to set up campuses in India, representing a significant milestone in the Australia-India relationship.
In addition, six Innovative Research Universities have signalled their intent to collectively establish a consortium campus in India, and Western Sydney University has also signalled its intent to establish an Indian campus.
This week four new partnerships between Australian universities and their Indian counterparts were signed:
- Deakin University and the National Skills Development Council
- Deakin University and IIT Gandhinagar
- Monash University and IIT Hyderabad
- Monash University and International Centre of Excellence in Mining
Ministers also discussed the following:
- The launch of the Maitri Scholars Program to give talented young Indian researchers greater opportunities to study in Australia.
- The intention of Australian and Indian universities to develop a roadmap for research collaboration.
- The finalisation of regulations by the University Grants Commission on Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Educational Institutions to offer Twinning, Joint Degree and Dual Degree Programs. The first of these is underway between RMIT and BITS Pilani.
- Opportunities for cooperation under the International Skills Training (IST) program, including through cybersecurity and aged care.
- The progress of the Developing Critical Skills in India project, which is trialling a model of transnational skills development.
- The extension of funding for the Australian India Institute until 2026 to further strengthen the education and research relationship.
- Both governments shared commitment to implement the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications to expand institutional partnerships and educational mobility.
- Agreement to share VET sector approaches to workforce development for the clean energy sector.
The next meeting of the Australia India Education and Skills Council will be held in Australia in 2024.
The Australia India Education and Skills Council communique can be found on the Department's website.
The A Partnership for the Future – Australia’s Education Strategy for India can be found on the Department’s website.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:
“International education is an important national asset – it is the biggest export we don’t dig out of the ground.
“That’s why the development of Australia’s Education Strategy for India and today’s meeting of the Australia India Education and Skills Council are so important.
“This is all about strengthening the education relationship between Australia and India.
“These developments also highlight that international education is not a one-way street, it is not just about international students coming to Australia, it is increasingly about Australian universities going to the world.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor:
“India is Australia’s second largest source of international students – which makes our relationship, and knowledge sharing, vital to combating ongoing skill shortages.
“We put a high value on ensuring international students are welcomed and their contribution is recognised and celebrated in Australia.
“I’m excited by the opportunities discussed at this meeting for skills collaboration that the Australian and Indian governments are exploring.”