To promote cooperation in education and skills training, the education ministers of India and Australia held the inaugural meeting of the Australia India Education and Skill Council (AIESC) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar on Monday. This meeting was co-chaired by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Education and Skill Development, Australian Education Minister Jason Clare, and Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills & Training in the Australian government. During the meeting, Mr Pradhan outlined several important outcomes, including progress in mutually recognising qualifications, establishing a joint working group, collaborating on skill development, forming partnerships between higher education institutions for joint degree programs, enhancing teacher capabilities, simplifying visa processes for Indian students and research scholars, and more.
Five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the education institutions of both countries to promote research collaborations in various fields, including agriculture, water management, critical minerals, healthcare, AI, renewable energy, and climate change.
Mr Pradhan said that both nations had reviewed their bilateral cooperation in education and skilling and had agreed to strengthen partnerships in knowledge and skill development, with the aim of increasing mobility and employability. These agreements would lead to joint research, student and faculty exchange programs, and the implementation of dual and joint degree programs in areas like agriculture, water management, and healthcare.
2023 is a landmark year for Australia and India, particularly for our cooperation in the areas of education and skill development.
— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) November 6, 2023
Details of the MoUs exchanged are as follows:
Innovative Research Universities consortium campus:
The Innovative Research Universities (IRU), a group of seven public universities in Australia, including Flinders University, James Cook University, La Trobe University, Murdoch University, Griffith University, University of Canberra, and Western Sydney University, have signed an MOU to enhance collaboration and strengthen the education partnership between Australia and India. This MOU focuses on exploring the potential for a consortium-based approach to delivering degrees in India and expanding access to Australian higher education for Indian students.
Deakin University and National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC):
Deakin University has partnered with India’s National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) to create the ‘Global Job Readiness Program’ (GJRP) to address skill shortages in India. This online program, spanning 30 hours, aims to upskill 15 million Indians over three years, focusing on skills in high demand by employers. The program seeks to bridge the gap in life and workplace skills identified by Indian employers and make it affordable and accessible to a wide audience.
Deakin University and IIT Gandhinagar:
Deakin University has established a campus in GIFT City and joined hands with IIT Gandhinagar to enhance the quality of higher education and research in the local region. The collaboration includes areas like science, innovation, faculty exchange, joint doctoral programs, bilateral funding opportunities, and knowledge exchange through grant proposals, conferences, and workshops. It offers IIT Gandhinagar students an opportunity to pursue higher studies and research at Deakin University, both in Australia and at GIFT City, expanding Deakin’s involvement in India through a high-quality partnership.
Monash University and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad:
This MoU outlines cooperation in academic and research endeavours, particularly in critical minerals and other mutually interesting fields. It includes sharing academic resources, scholars, and students, and hosting joint seminars, workshops, and other academic activities.
Monash University and International Center of Excellence in Mining (ICEM):
This MoU aims to promote research and innovation collaboration between Monash and iCEM in support of India’s mining and mineral development sector. It focuses on cooperation to reduce the environmental impact of mining, increase its efficiency, and enhance expertise in critical minerals and rare earth elements.