India, Australia education ministers meet, agree to increase research collaborations
Gandhinagar: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday met his Australian counterpart Jason Clare and both the countries agreed to increase research collaborations in priority areas including mines and minerals and critical minerals, Pradhan said.
The two countries agreed to have more research in areas of agriculture, mines and minerals, logistics, renewal energy, water management, healthcare and artificial intelligence, and increase student and faculty exchange programmes, dual degree, twin degree, and joint PhD, he said.
The two ministers held discussions at the first Australia-India Education and Skill Council Meeting of the two countries organised in Gujarat capital Gandhinagar.
They also had a bilateral meeting before the event.
Pradhan said the meeting was successful and fruitful.
Agreements between the two countries in the field of collaborative research as well as increasing student and faculty exchange programmes, twin and dual degrees and PhDs, “not only complement each other’s economy and aspiration, but also fulfil global requirements as envisioned by our leader PM Modi, which was the theme of the G20 (hosted by India),” he said.
Pradhan said educational skill was one of the primary and priority areas of discussions between the two countries, and they agreed to identify priority areas and common interests during today’s meeting.
Clare said there is a lot of good work that the two countries can do together in areas that are critically important to both.
He said two Australian universities setting up campuses at GIFT City in Gandhinagar and providing opportunity to Indian students, who cannot afford to go to Australia to pursue higher education, “is an example of us thinking differently and taking our relationship to the next level.”
The consortium agreement announced today shows that what the two countries have agreed already is just the start and there is so much more they can do together, he said.
The Australia-India Education and Skills Council (AIESC), which was earlier Australia-India Education Council (AIEC), is a forum for academia, industry and government to collaborate in deciding major bilateral priorities and collaborative efforts for the coming years.
It was set up in 2011 to provide a strategic direction in the field of education, training and research partnership between the two countries.
“We discussed more cooperation in the areas of research, especially in the area like mines and minerals, and specifically critical minerals,” Pradhan said.
“We are envisioning a new level of service industry in this area, so this collaboration of Australia and India is going to complement our aspirations in a collaborative manner,” he said.
Pradhan said the two countries agreed to have more research in areas of agriculture, mines and minerals, logistics, renewal energy, water management, healthcare and artificial intelligence, and increase student and faculty exchange programmes, dual degree, twin degree, and joint PhD.
“And we all agreed to identify the priority areas from both the sides, which are of common interest,” he said.
Six Australian universities also created a consortium in the area of education and skill development, he informed.
Today, more than 1 lakh Indian students are studying in Australia, and more than 400 tie-ups have been entered between Australian and Indian institutions, Pradhan said.
The government is envisioning a new level of service industry in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, and the collaboration between Australia and India will complement the aspirations of the two countries, he said.
Clare told reporters that there are 450 existing research partnerships between Australian and Indian institutions, and four more such agreements were signed on Monday in front of the two ministers, building on the existing ones.
He said he will visit the site of the Australian universities of Deakin and Wollongong at GIFT City in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
The two universities are being built to provide an opportunity for students in India, he said.
“For many young Indian students who make their way from India to Australia to study, there will always be many who can’t afford to do that. Setting up a campus in India provides an opportunity for Indian students to study in an Australian university in India for half the cost,” he said.
“This is an example of us thinking differently and taking our relationship to the next level,” the Australian minister said.
The consortium agreement announced today is the next step, and it shows that what we have agreed already is just the start and there is so much more that we can do together, he said.
“What Mr Pradhan and we talked about today and he just mentioned is what more we can do in the area of combined research. There is so much good work we can potentially do together in areas that are critically important to both of us,” he said.
Clare said that while Australia is the biggest provider of lithium to the world, India is one of the biggest producers of electric cars.
“What more can we do together, government to government, universities to universities, education sector to education sector, industry to industry collaborating together. One of the big things that can have a meaning today is how we intensify that collaboration in the years ahead,” he added.
Six meetings of AIEC have been held so far, with the working groups comprising lead members of the two countries identifying three priority areas — higher education, research and student mobility; schools; and qualification recognition and quality assurance.