Due to the chronic shortage of skills, with a requirement for around 500,000 skilled workers in the short term, Australia is increasingly pivoting towards India.
The south Asian country has shown to be a time-tested and dependable partner in Australia’s greatest services export, international education, with Indian students constituting the second largest cohort from any other country and contributing more than $6 billion each year.
The visit of India’s education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, and the next month’s Skills and Jobs Summit in Canberra, are happening at a very ideal timing.
Dharmendra Pradhan met with his Australian counterpart, Jason Clare, for the Australia-India Education Council meeting this week during his four-day visit to Australia. The AIEC, which is co-chaired by the Australian and Indian education ministers, is the primary bi-lateral body in charge of driving the Australia-India education, training, and research agenda.
“India is one of Australia’s closest international partners, and our two countries have a long history of bilateral cooperation in education and research,” Jason Clare said.
The meeting, according to Australia’s education minister, “reaffirmed” the Australia-India partnership, including collaboration in the Australian Researcher Cooperation Hub and the Australia-India Research Students Fellowship.
“These programmes are run by the Australia India Institute and funded by the Australian government in order to foster collaboration and innovation between our two countries,” Clare explained.
“Australia and India have a long history of collaboration and partnership.” “However, there is still untapped potential to deepen our research links,” said Lisa Singh, CEO of the Australia India Institute, at the event.
“Both countries have advanced capabilities in research and development.” Here is an opportunity to showcase and connect both countries’ unique expertise while working together to address the complex challenges confronting the Indo-Pacific and the world.
“The biggest trading opportunity for the Australia-India relationship is education.” “Deepening our research and innovation ties will strengthen bilateral relations and help India meet rising demand in the sector,” Singh said.
The Indian education minister announced on Twitter that he has invited “Australian universities and skilling institutions to establish campuses in India and explore areas of collaboration.”
“I invite all Australian universities and skill institutions to explore opportunities in India, and to develop mechanisms for learning from each other’s best practises for transforming our countries into knowledge economies and for the prosperity of people in both our countries,” Pradhan said.
“There are numerous opportunities for Australia and India to collaborate in the areas of skills assessment, qualifications and skills recognition, curriculum development, and workforce development.” “Having a workforce that is future-ready in our countries will better prepare us to seize global opportunities,” he said.
Earlier this year, the two countries announced an interim free trade agreement to “turbocharge” collaboration and formed a task force to recognise qualifications.
“Our world-leading research partnerships with India are leveraging our collective research strengths to tackle the grand, often complex challenges that both countries face,” Western Sydney University’s vice-chancellor and president, Barney Glover, said this week.
“By working together, we are making a real and lasting difference in the lives of many millions of people in Australia and India, while also promoting industry development, commercialization opportunities, and capacity building throughout the region.”
The visit of India’s education minister, who is also the minister for skill development and entrepreneurship, comes at a time when Australia is dealing with a severe skills shortage that affects nearly every sector of the country’s economy.
“We’ve had some fantastic meetings with the Indian Education Minister who is in town this week,” said Catriona Jackson, CEO of Universities Australia.
“1.3 billion people live in India, and the country hopes to educate half a billion of its citizens by 2035.” For Australians, those figures are simply staggering. “Indian students have played a significant role here,” she explained this morning in an interview with Sky News.
“We believe they will continue to play an important role.” We’d like to keep a few more of them, but as a sector, we take our role in educating the region very seriously. That is part of being a responsible citizen, as well as having a great flow of skilled migration.
“The vast majority of students return home or pursue global careers elsewhere.” If we just slightly increase that percentage, we’ll go a long way toward addressing the skill shortage we’re facing.” Jackson pointed out that only about 16% of international students in Australia choose to stay.
Australia is on track to create one million new jobs in the next few years, with half of them requiring a university degree. India is an important partner for Australia, not only in terms of educational relationships, but also in terms of providing a long-term solution to the country’s skilling needs.
“Our engagement with India, the world’s fastest-growing economy, is critical to our sector’s future success.” Building on our strong bilateral relationship in higher education and research will benefit both countries,” Group of Eight CEO Vicki Thomson said on social media.
“The recent signing of our historic trade agreement with India will open up more opportunities to strengthen our relationship and collaborate more closely for the benefit of both our countries,” Jackson said in a statement.
“Australian and Indian universities are already collaborating closely, with 452 formal partnerships – four times as many as in 2007.”
“Breaking down barriers to closer collaboration will position our countries strongly in the future to solve challenges and embrace opportunities,” Jackson concluded.
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