This week marked a big step for education relations between Australia and India, with the first meeting of the Australia India Education and Skills Council.
The meeting, held in India, was led by Indian education officials and attended online by Australia’s Education Minister, Jason Clare, and Skills and Training Minister, Brendan O’Connor. The main achievement of this meeting was the launch of “A Partnership for the Future – Australia’s Education Strategy for India“, aiming to bring Australia and India closer in education and research. This builds on the commitment made earlier in 2023 by both governments to strengthen their educational ties.
Read on for the major takeaways and discussions from the meeting.
Australian universities expanding in India
A major announcement from the meeting was about Australian universities expanding in India. Deakin University and the University of Wollongong are opening campuses in Gujarat International Finance-Tec (GIFT) City. They are the first foreign universities to do this in India. Deakin University will start taking student applications this week (mid-November 2023), and both universities plan to have students by mid-2024. Six more Australian universities are also looking to open a joint campus in India, and Western Sydney University is interested in starting a campus too.
New educational partnerships and initiatives
The meeting also saw the start of four new partnerships between Australian and Indian universities. They talked about the Maitri Scholars Program to bring more Indian researchers to Australia, a plan for joint research between universities, and new rules to make it easier for students to get degrees from both countries. They also discussed cooperation in training programs, especially in cybersecurity and aged care, and the progress of a project that helps develop essential skills in India.
Why are these developments important?
Minister Jason Clare spoke about how important international education is for Australia, and how these new plans and the meeting itself help strengthen the relationship between Australia and India in education. Minister Brendan O’Connor highlighted India’s role as a major source of international students for Australia and underscored how crucial it is for the two countries to work together in improving skills and training.
The importance of this bilateral relationship was also the focal point of a visit to Australia from India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, back in May 2023. During the visit, PM Modi and Australian PM Anthony Albanese announced several new opportunities for students, graduates and young professionals from both countries. PM Albanese also stated that, “Australia and India are closer friends and partners than ever before.”
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The next meeting of the Australia India Education and Skills Council will take place in Australia in 2024. You can find more information about the meeting and the education strategy on the Department’s website.