Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday (8 March) announced a ‘Mechanism for recognizing Australian-Indian educational qualifications’. He also announced that Deakin Geelong University would be the first overseas university to open its branch campus in India, apart from the new ‘Maitri’ scholarship for Indian students to study in Australia for up to four years.
Addressing an event titled ‘Celebrating India-Australia Education Relations’ in Ahmedabad, the Australian prime minister stated that the latest series of announcements “are the most comprehensive and ambitious arrangements India has agreed to with any country”.
The Albanese PM, accompanied by a delegation, reached Ahmedabad on Wednesday and visited Sabarmati Ashram. He also celebrate Holi at Raj Bhavan with Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
Today (9 March), ahead of the fourth Test match between India and Australia, PM Albanese and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took the lap of honor at the Narendra Modi Stadium to mark 75 years of India-Australia friendship. The duo also interacted with the players ahead of the game.
What exactly is the ‘Australian-Indian educational qualification recognition mechanism’?
This new mechanism means that degrees earned in Australia will now be recognized in India, and conversely, degrees earned in India will be recognized in Australia.
“This new mechanism means that if you are an Indian student studying or have studied in Australia, your hard-earned degree will be recognized when you return home,” said PM Albanese. “Or if you are a member of the huge Indian Australian diaspora of 800,000 and growing, you will feel more confident that your Indian qualifications will be recognized in Australia,” said the Australian prime minister.
This new mechanism completed by Australian Education Minister Jason Clare and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan during the former’s visit to Delhi last week. “India has other agreements with countries like the US. What makes this more extensive than the agreement with the US is that it includes online courses as well, apart from courses that could be run by an Australian university in India or on a standalone campus like the one being set up by the University of Wollongong,” Clare told The Indian Express.
It is hoped that this agreement will make it easier for Indians to go to Australia for both education and work, and vice versa.
However, this measure does not yet apply to professional qualifications. Professional registration of engineering, medical and law graduates will remain outside the scope of this agreement.
What did PM Albanese say about Australian universities setting up campuses in India?
The Australian Prime Minister also confirmed that Geelong Deakin University would be first foreign university to have an offshore campus in India, to be established Gandhinagar GIFT City. First reported by The Indian Express on March 1, operations on Deakin University’s new offshore campus could start as early as next year, with students being accepted into some postgraduate courses. The campus will offer courses in cybersecurity and business analytics, said PM Albanese.
Indian Express first reported it on 27 February two Australian universities, ranking among the world’s top 300, has contacted the Union government to set up an independent offshore campus in India. Another university reportedly interested in setting up an Indian campus is the University of Wollongong (UoW) – this was further confirmed in PM Albanese’s speech.
“Of course, we would always welcome students to come and live in Australia…but not everyone has the means or ability to pack up and study in another country…now Indian students can get an Australian education without being in Australia,” he added.
Ravneet Pawha, Deakin University Vice President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia), said, “This is an important opportunity for both countries, and we are thrilled to have contributed to two ‘firsts’ in the Australia-India education sector. story. The branch campuses aim to provide world-class post-graduate education to meet the domestic demand for industrial skilled labour.”
Various governments since the 1990s have failed to allow foreign universities to enter India. This is now finally about to change with the entry of Deakin and the potential entry of UoW. In last year’s budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that world-class foreign universities and institutions would be allowed in the newly established GIFT City to offer courses in financial management, FinTech, science, technology, engineering and mathematics “free from domestic regulations”.
First conceptualized in 2007, GIFT City is spread over 887 hectares in Gandhinagar and comprises a multi-service Special Economic Zone (SEZ), housing India’s first International Financial Services Center (IFSC) and exclusive Domestic Tariff Area (DTA). ).
What is the new ‘Maitri’ scholarship?
New scholarships were also announced for Indian students studying in Australia. The ‘Maitri’ Scholarship will provide financial assistance to Indian students in Australia for four years. “The scholarship is part of a wider Maitri (friendship) program that seeks to enhance cultural, educational and community ties between Australia and India,” said PM Albanese.
The ‘Maitri’ scholarship is first mentioned in a joint media statement by Australian ministers on 14 February 2022. “The $11.2 million Maitri Scholarship Program will attract and support outstanding Indian students to study at Australian universities. It will showcase Australia’s globally renowned academic and research institutions, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health,” said the statement.