India, Australia welcome signing of MoU to promote agriculture, retail, telecom skills

Sydney, July 12 (ANI): Education ministers of India and Australia have welcomed the signing of a Memoranda of Understanding between Australian and Indian industry and sector skill councils in agriculture, mining, retail and telecommunications, with media and entertainment working under an agreed engagement plan.

Ministers Kim Carr and M.M. Pallam Raju said in a joint communique issued after an India-Australia Education Cooperation meeting held here, that these collaborations are pivotal to developing quality occupational, training, accreditation and information standards to support the building of skilled and productive workforces, aligned to the needs of industry.

Both ministers also welcomed the inaugural Australia India Industry/Sector Skill Council Workshop that was held in Sydney on July 11.

They welcomed news of the 2nd Australia India Skills Conference: Training and Industry - Bridging the Skills Divide to be held in New Delhi on 7-8 November 2013, saying it would build on the successful Australia India Skills Conference: Partners for Prosperity that was held in Perth in July 2012.

The inaugural conference brought together over 200 delegates from across Australia and India to share best practice models of VET delivery in India and to facilitate new partnerships in skills development. Over 150 business matching meetings were held and six memoranda of understanding signed at the conference.

The Ministers also welcomed work by the AIEC on a feasibility study to establish a Vocational Teacher Training Centre of Excellence in India.

The new Australia Awards Endeavour Australia India Education Council Research Fellowships, launched by former Prime Minister Gillard in New Delhi in October 2012, were acknowledged by both ministers as innovative to building short-term research exchange opportunities for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in areas relevant to the AIEC.

Carr and Raju also committed to enhance student mobility between Australia and India.

They acknowledged the innovative work of the AIEC in developing a new database of credit transfer arrangements between Indian and Australian universities, to be hosted on the Australia India education links website (www.australiaindiaeducation.com).

Carr announced that in 2013-14 Australia would support 29 higher education institutions to send 300 students to India for a study experience under the new AsiaBound program.

Raju announced the opportunity for Australian students to visit India for short term visits through the'Connect to India' program.

The new Australia India Knowledge Partnership Grants under the AIEC to fund projects in prioritised higher education thematic areas, including support to universities to develop credit transfer arrangements between Australian and Indian institutions was also welcomed alongwith the establishment of a joint Australia India taskforce to enhance qualifications recognition between the two countries.

Both ministers acknowledged the continued success of the jointly sponsored Australia India School Leaders' Professional Learning Program, which has supported the exchange of more than 180 Indian and 250 Australian school leaders since 1998.

The program, administered by the Asia Education Foundation, continues to build leadership, mutual understanding and cooperation between our respective school sectors.

They recognised the successes of 2012 pilot programs aimed at encouraging greater vocational and higher education leader exchange. These included the Australia India University Shadowing Pilot, the Australia India College Principals' Exchange Program and the TAFE Directors Australia Vocational Education Leadership Training Program.

Building on these pilots, Carr announced a new Australia India Education Leaders' Exchange, to be administered by the Australia India Institute. The new exchange program will support high calibre education leaders from both countries to develop new and innovative sustainable knowledge partnerships at the institutional level.

Carr also announced a 2nd Australia India Vocational Education Leadership Training (VELT) program for Indian community college leaders, to be facilitated by TAFE Directors Australia. (ANI)

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