Thursday, October 13, 2011

Australia willing to boost education ties with India

Australia will boost education and research collaboration with India to help it tide its demand for skilled workforce in the areas of faculty capacity building and curriculum renewal. "Australia is committed to strengthening education and training ties with India. Opportunities for Australia in India are vast," Parliamentary Secretary for School Education Senator Jacinta Collins has told the inaugural Australia-India Institute (AII) conference held in Melbourne.

Collins, who was representing Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills Senator Chris Evans, also reaffirmed the strength of Australia and India's bilateral education relationship. "India aims to increase its formally skilled workforce through vocational education and training from the current 12 per cent to 25 per cent by 2017 - an additional 70 million people in the next five years.

"Australia is well placed to help India achieve this objective. Providers and companies are already developing low cost models of quality Australian training provision in India," she said. "India is looking for assistance from its international partners in a number of areas including in faculty capacity building, curriculum renewal, and provision of quality education and training to enable India to meet skilling targets. Australia, as a valued partner, is well placed to assist," she said.

"Harmonising our education and training systems to increase student and staff mobility is also a key goal for both countries," she added. Earlier, Evans had visited India with a delegation of Australian education and industry leaders for the annual Education Ministers Dialogue and to inaugurate the Australia India Education Council (AIEC).

The visit helped strengthen the bilateral relationship, with the governments discussing opportunities for education, training and research collaboration with India. The two governments also announced a range of new exchange programs for academics and college principals, and a new website to foster closer education and training collaboration.

In Australia, the senator said the government continued to implement measures to strengthen the international education sector including tighter controls on providers, an International Students Strategy and expanding the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman to deal with international student complaints against private providers.

"These measures support the government's recent reforms to enhance the integrity of the student visa program and refocus the skilled migration program to deliver the high value skills the Australian economy needs over the medium to long term," Collins said. On September 22, Australia announced new visa rules to attract foreign students.

Source: The Times of India (Online Edition), October 13, 2011

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