Australian India Education Council (AIEC), a bi-national body established in 2011 to guide the strategic direction of the education, training and research partnerships between the two countries, met in the Gujarat capital Gandhinagar on November 6 to take stock of the progress and embark on further cooperation. The meeting co-chaired by the Education Ministers of the two countries, Minister for Education and Skill Development, Dharmendra Pradhan of India and HE Jason Clare, MP, Education Minister of Australia saw the respective delegations holding intensive dialogue in this day-long proceeding.
Both the Ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to implement qualification recognition arrangements under the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications and acknowledged the work done by the Australia-India Qualifications Recognition Steering Committee. Regarding research collaborations, Pradhan mentioned that India is working on the Phase III of the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) Programme and priority areas would include joint projects in critical minerals, rare earths and other mutually agreed priority areas. India has earmarked 2.5 million USD for Joint Research Projects with Australia.
Details of the MoUs exchanged:
- Innovative Research Universities consortium campus:
The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) is a coalition of 7 public universities across Australia: Flinders University, James Cook University, La Trobe University, Murdoch University, Griffith University, University of Canberra, and Western Sydney University. The objective of the IRU’S MOU is to provide a framework for closer cooperation between parties in strengthening the Australia-India education partnership. Under the MOU, participating members will work together to explore the potential for a consortium approach to in-country delivery of degrees in India and expand in-country access to Australian higher education for Indian students.
- Deakin University and National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC):
In partnership with India’s National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), Deakin University has developed the ‘Global Job Readiness Program’ (GJRP) to address skills shortages in India. This 30-hour program will be delivered online and aims to upskill 15 million Indians over three years. The GJRP focuses on skills in highest demand among employers. Its mission is to produce a program to address the gap in life and workplace skills that Indian employers regularly point to as a hindrance to business and ensure the program is both affordable and accessible to the majority of India’s youth.
- Deakin University and IIT Gandhinagar:
With the establishment of Deakin University’s campus at GIFT City, the key objective through the alliance with IIT Gandhinagar is to provide support for a quality higher education and research ecosystem in the local region.The partnership will focus on collaboration in science and innovation, mobility, faculty exchange, and joint doctoral programs. It will also promote collaboration for bilateral funding opportunities and knowledge exchange through joint grant proposals, conferences and workshops. The collaboration with Deakin will provide an opportunity for IIT Gandhinagar students to transfer into higher studies and research at Deakin University both in Australia and at GIFT City. The collaboration will enable Deakin University to broaden its engagement in India through a high-quality partnership.
- Monash University and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad:
This MoU is for collaboration on academic and research activities in the area of critical minerals and other areas of mutual interest. The MoU includes the exchange of academic materials, scholars and students and cooperative seminars, workshops and other academic activities.
- Monash University and International Center of Excellence in Mining (ICEM):
This MoU aims to foster research and innovation collaboration between Monash and iCEM to in support of the mining and mineral development sector in India. A focus will be cooperation in reducing the impact of mining on climate change, increasing its efficiency and on enhancing capabilities in critical minerals and rare earth elements.