Governments from the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation in education, with a renewed focus on recognition of qualifications and a A$1m boost to the Australia-India Education Council.
The dialogues also involved how to encourage Australian students to study in India.
The Ministerial Dialogue provided a “strong foundation for continued growth” in education collaboration
The Ministerial Dialogue, held in New Delhi ahead of the AIEC annual meeting, provided a “strong foundation for continued growth” in education collaboration, Australia’s Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne said.
A joint communiqué put out by Pyne and Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Zubin Irani lays out a number of agreements to further the education cooperation between the two countries, including the recognition of Australian pathways in India.
Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said the agreement is “great news for both countries”.
“Once Minister Irani’s announcement is implemented, Indian students studying in Australia in pathway programmes will have access to the Indian public service and further study at an Indian institution,” she said.
At present, students returning to India after studying abroad must obtain an “equivalence” for their academic qualifications from the Association of Indian Universities in order to continue onto further study or to find employment in academia or the public sector.
However, AIU currently only recognises qualifications which have been completed on one campus, which can create problems for students who progress from a pathway programme into a degree at a different institution, explained Rahul Gandhi, president of the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India.
Gandhi echoed Robinson’s description of the development as “great news”, but said that the challenge lies in knowing when it will be implemented.
Support for recognition of education qualifications is essential to supporting student mobility between India and Australia and “to directly support national productivity, international competitiveness and innovation”, the communiqué said.
In order to promote further development in this area, the two ministers announced the establishment of a quality assurance and qualifications recognition workshop.
The ministers are keen to see more research collaborations and “greater institutional linkages forged” between the two countries, Pyne said, adding that A$84m in funding towards the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund over the last 13 years has resulted in “groundbreaking” research developments.
“Progress made over the past few days is testament to the respect and regard that the governments of India and Australia have for each other”
“I want to see this continue as Australia’s strong collaborative research ties with India expand into the future,” he said.
“That is why Australia and India will work together on a feasibility study to examine establishing a grouping of higher education institutions to encourage greater student mobility, languages and cultural studies in India.”
Gandhi at AAERI said the deal is “a positive development as it will further help in exchange of knowledge, skills and research opportunities”.
Co-chairing the AIEC meeting, Pyne and Irani reaffirmed their commitment to the AIEC as “the principal body for guiding the strategic direction of the knowledge partnership” and committed an additional A$1m to support its work.
Robinson welcomed their support of the AIEC, which she said has been “instrumental” in facilitating collaboration in areas skills and employment, student mobility and welfare, higher education and research, and quality assurance and qualifications recognition.
The two ministers praised the council for its work in these areas, and also welcomed its recent extension of collaborative activity to include engagement in the schools sector.
“Progress made over the past few days… is testament to the respect and regard that the governments of India and Australia have for each other and their shared view that education and research is central to economic and social progress,” Robinson said.