Sydney, July 12 (ANI): Acknowledging that education is the central pillar to broadening the strategic partnership between India and Australia, the education ministers of both countries have reiterated their respective governments committment to further strengthening and expanding collaboration in this sector, besides in skills and research.
This bilateral commitment was made through a joint communique issued here on Friday after the annual Australia-India Ministerial Dialogue on Education Cooperation.
The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Human Resource Development Minister Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, while the Australian side was led by that country's Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and Higher Education, Senator Kim Carr.
A statement issued by the two governments said both leaders discussed the flourishing Australia-India knowledge partnership.
According to the joint communique, both ministers reflected on the crucial role education and skills development play in realising both individual and national aspirations to build a skilled and productive workforce.
They reaffirmed their commitment to activities agreed upon by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh through a joint statement issued on October 17, 2012, and through a joint communique of August 1, 2011 that was agreed by former education ministers Chris Evans and Kapil Sibal, and the joint ministerial statement of April 8, 2010, signed by then education ministers Julia Gillard and Kapil Sibal.
Both ministers also noted the critically important education and training projects undertaken by Australia and India through the East Asia Summit (EAS), which are supportive of building quality, capacity and mobility in the region. They reaffirmed their commitment to the EAS education agenda.
The Ministers agreed that strong and expanding people-to-people links are at the heart of the bilateral relationship and acknowledged the importance of continuing to nurture student and staff mobility, joint research and knowledge exchange.
They also recognised the range of enhancements to the international student experience in Australia and committed their departments to continue activity in both countries under the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Student Mobility and Welfare.
Carr related the work Australia has undertaken to date with education agents in India under the London Statement of Principles for the Ethical Recruitment of International Students by Education Agents and Consultants signed on 16 March 2012 by the UK, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.
Both ministers also co-chaired the Australia India Education Council (AIEC) meeting on Friday and agreed to continue to build the reputation and profile of the council as the principal body for driving the Australia India education, training and research agenda.
They acknowledged the value of the AIEC in bringing together senior Australian and Indian education, training and industry representatives with government to guide the strategic direction of the knowledge partnership.
Both Ministers commended AIEC members on the substantial progress made across key areas of skills, higher education and joint research, student mobility and welfare, and quality assurance and qualifications recognition.
The Ministers reaffirmed their support for the council with a total joint commitment of Australian dollars 900,000.
Carr and Raju welcomed the release of four AIEC reports namely:
India-Australia Institutional Collaborations in Higher Education: Potential, Problems, Promises
Strengthening the Australia-India Knowledge Partnership: Challenges and Opportunities
An Issues Paper: Aligning Qualification Recognition between India and Australia
Australia India Education Council Activity Report. (ANI)