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India -Australia starts a new chapter in the field of Education amid Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan's visit.

NRI Herald Australia, 22 August 2022

Picture Source: Jason Clare's Office

Today Australian Education Minister Jason Clare hosted a bilateral meeting with the Indian Education Minister the Hon. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and meeting of the Australian India Education Council.

The meeting took place at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta City Campus.

India is one of Australia’s closest international partners, and our two countries have a strong history of bilateral cooperation in education and research.

Today’s meeting will reaffirm this partnership including through the Australian Researcher Cooperation Hub and the Australia-India Research Students Fellowship.

These programs are run by the Australia India Institute and funded by the Australian Government to drive collaboration and innovation between our two countries.

There are currently 59,000 Indian students in Australia. Australian classrooms, lecture theatres, and communities benefit significantly from this exchange.

In return, Indian students benefit from a world-class education at one of Australia’s quality higher education institutions. They take home new skills and knowledge to help create new businesses, drive research and innovation, continue growing India’s economy, and contribute to Indian society.

While in Australia, Minister Pradhan met with Australian university leaders and representatives of our vocational education training and skills sectors.

While talking to Media Australian Minister of Education said;

"We spoke via the internet only last month in preparation for this visit about our excitement at getting to meet in person. We’re both new Ministers for Education with big agendas, both Ministers who understand the power of education to change lives. I told you this morning in our discussions that if you got into a time machine and went back 50 years, you would not recognize the Australia that you found."

"Fifty years ago, Australia was a very different country to the one that we live in today. Fifty years ago, Australia was not the multicultural country that we have today. Most Australians were of an Anglo–Celtic background. Today, one in two Australians have a parent who was born overseas. One of the fastest growing groups of Australians is Australians of Indian heritage. The number of Australians who practice the Hindu faith has increased by 50 percent just in the last five years alone."

"And if you were to get in that time machine and go back 50 years you would not recognize the education system that existed in Australia back then compared to today. Fifty years ago, only 2 percent of Australians had a university degree – 2 percent. Something like only 18 percent of Australians, 50 years ago, completed high school."

Today, that percentage is more than 90 percent of Australians who finish high school, and more than 43 percent of young Australians have a university degree. So, we understand, through everything that’s happened in Australia in the last 50 years, the power of education to transform people’s lives. That is what makes what Prime Minister Modi and yourself are doing in India so exciting.

The work that you are doing through the National Education Plan, with ambitious targets like ensuring that as many as 50 percent of young Indians by 2035 are enrolled in vocational education and higher education, is nation‑changing stuff. It will change the nation. And for our Australian friends who join us at this press conference, to understand the magnitude of what Prime Minister Modi and Minister Pradhan are talking about here, we’re talking about the education of something like 500 million young Indian students. It’s enormous.

"Today, in the Council, we agreed to finalize the mutual recognition of educational qualifications work that the Council has been doing by the end of this year, and I’m very hopeful to be able to visit Minister Pradhan in India by the end of the year for the conclusion of that work. We also are happy to announce today the establishment of the Australia Research Collaboration Hub, half a million dollars investment to assist in the collaboration between Australian and Indian researchers online"

"We’re also announcing today the Australia-India Research Student Fellowships Program, worth about $600,000, that will provide fellowships for 70 students and young researchers from India as well as from Australia, worth up to $10,000 each, to assist in the work that they do and in working in India and Australia. And then finally, the establishment of the Research Collaboration Grants Seed Funding for Australian researchers to collaborate with Indian counterparts."

While addressing one of the questions from a journalist in which it was asked:

Journalist: A quarter of permanent skilled migrants in Australia are working in jobs that are beneath their skill level. What is the government doing to better recognize qualifications?

Honorable Jason Clare MP said: So, the agreement we’re working on is a little different from that. That’s about the mutual recognition of educational qualifications generally. The question you’ve raised is a significant one. We want people with qualifications to be able to use them in Australia. We have a skills shortage at the moment. Australian businesses are screaming out for skilled workers. Brendan O’Connor, my colleague, the Minister for Skills, is looking at issues like this. It will be one of the things I expect would be discussed at the summit, the Jobs and Skills Summit, next week.

But in our area, working on mutual recognition of educational qualifications will help to underpin the growth in students studying here in Australia as well as Australian students being able to study in India. I think we made some good progress on that front, Minister, hoping to sign that off by Christmas. After our press conference here, we’re off to have lunch in Harris Park. Then heading off to visit a local primary school, then off to TAFE, and then we’ll conclude tonight by visiting my old university, the University of New South Wales, where we’ll get to talk to a number of Vice‑Chancellors and leaders of Australian universities about the opportunities for Australian universities to help India in meeting the ambitious targets it has to educate young Indian students, something in the order of half a billion by 2035. So, a big day ahead and very much looking forward to spending it with you, Minister. education."

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