Education as a Common Development agenda for India-Australia

Malcolm Turnbull, the 29th and current Prime Minister of Australia is on his first official visit to India since being elected as the Australian head of state in 2015. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull discussed with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the ways and means by which Australia can render help to improve India’s education sector.

Following the meetings and discussions with Indian PM, the Minister for Human Resource and Development Prakash Javadekar and the Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the Turnbull Government had secured important progress on key education issues. India is a land of significant opportunity for both Australian students as well as educators, that’s why commitments have been made to deliver what is vital to maintain the relationship of both the countries and their respective education sectors.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy with Simon Birmingham

India has pledged to work with the Australian Government, universities and vocational education trainers to establish themselves in India. Australian Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said that the successful two-day mission has also delivered key advancements on ‘train the trainer’ course offerings and research collaboration.

Both Prakash Javadekar and Rajiv Pratap Rudy recognized the quality of Australian education and have instructed the Indian officials to work on helping the Australian universities and training providers to establish themselves in the local Indian market. This in turn, will motivate more Indian students to study in Australia with a significant presence in India too. There are close to 5 lakh International students studying in Australia. Australia has more than 1100 colleges and universities which are ranked both at the national and international level. The universities offer more than 2200 courses of study. English is the main language of instruction in these universities.

Australian educators are all set and prepared to help the India government achieve its ambitious target of upskilling 400 million Indians by 2022 and Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has endorsed the value of Australian ‘train the trainer’ courses being delivered by Australian providers. It highlights the role played by the Australian education system, thus paving the way for the Australian trainers to flourish in the Indian market.

At present, somewhere around 130 Australian university and training delegates have already travelled to India and hope they continue to work hard to expand that relationship at the institutional and people-to-people levels. In 2016, around 60,000 Indians were studying in Australia and that number has been growing at around 18.5 percent per year since 2013.

Turnbull and 120 officials from Australia’s university and technical education sector visited a university expo in New Delhi in an effort to encourage more students to travel to Australia. Education Minister Simon Birmingham is also currently in India. He is leading a delegation constituting of vice-chancellors and other Australian education officials.

All in all, the long-term aim of Australian Government is to be India’s key international education partner and this trip was a key step forward. The momentum that has just kick started at the ministerial and officials levels and the support shown by Australia’s universities and vocational education providers will continue to deliver to bring out the best in India’s and Australia’s relationship.

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