India, Australia Agree On Education Qualification Recognition Mechanism

Australian PM also announced the Maitri scholarship for Indian students to study in Australia for up to four years
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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced here on Wednesday evening that his country and the Indian government have finalised the Australia-India Education Qualification Recognition Mechanism.

Albanese made the announcement at a program where it was officially announced that Australia's Deakin University would set up an international branch campus at GIFT City in Gujarat's Gandhinagar.

“There is a significant development in our bilateral education relation. I am pleased to tell you that we have finalised Australia-India Education Qualification Recognition Mechanism,” he said.

"The new mechanism means that if you are an Indian student who is studying or have studied in Australia, your hard-earned degree will be recognised when you return home. Or if you are a member of Australia's very large Indian diaspora—5,00,000 and growing—you will feel more confident that your Indian qualification will be recognised in Australia,” he said.

He called it the 'most comprehensive and ambitious arrangement' agreed to by India with any country, which "paves the way for commercial opportunities for Australian education providers to offer innovative and more accessible education to Indian students." It also provides a solid basis for educational institutions to consider new ways to partner with each other, the Australian PM said.

He also announced a new scholarship—Maitri scholarship—for Indian students to study in Australia for up to four years. "The scholarships are part of the wider Maitri programme that seeks to boost cultural, educational and community ties between Australia and India,” he said.

Albanese said that it was a great honour for Deakin University to set up its international campus in India. It was also a great honour for Australia that a university from the country would be the first to set up an international campus in India, he said.

The University of Wollongong also intends to set up a campus at GIFT City, he said, adding that Australia will always welcome foreign students and it was a great thing that they are back in large numbers this year.

"But not everyone has the means or abilities to pack up their lives and study in another country. There might be financial constraints or family commitment, so a variety of reasons that you want to or need to stay close to home," Albanese said.

He hoped that the campus in GIFT City will see not just students from India but also from Australia, the visiting prime minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state has made it its mission to become a national and international education hub under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's guidance.

He also talked about the sister-city agreement that Gujarat entered into with New South Wales of Australia in 2018, and said that Gujarat and Australia have enjoyed people-to-people connect for a long time.

"Free trade agreement has become a new medium to give a new height to the bilateral relations between India and Australia. Gujarat is a growth engine of development, and I am sure it will get special benefit of bilateral relationship with India and Australia," Patel said.

Vice Chancellor of Deakin University Iain Martin said he hoped that the international campus at GIFT City would become operational from 2024.

To start with, it will offer two courses in cyber security and business analytics with 60 students in each course, he said.

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