India an opportunity for Australian educators: Visiting minister

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Australian Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham on Tuesday said India is a significant opportunity for the educators of his country and Australia will contribute to education, which is a strategically important sector.

"India represents a significant opportunity for both Australian educators and students, which is why the commitments we've secured will continue to deliver on what is a strategically important relationship for both countries and our respective education sectors," a release from the minister's office cited him as saying.

"I am confident that, thanks to the positive discussions had in India, it won't be too long until we see Australian universities and training providers complement their significant numbers of Indian students studying in Australia with a significant presence in India, too," he said.

There are over 60,000 Indian students in Australia and increasing number of Australian students are also coming to study in India.

Birmingham is accompanying Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who arrived here on Sunday on a four-day state visit to India.

According to the statement, during the ongoing visit of Turnbull, cooperation in the education sector was discussed in the meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister for Human Resource and Development Prakash Javadekar and Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Pratap Rudy.

Both Javadekar and Rudy recognised the quality of Australian education and instructed officials to support Australian universities and training providers to establish themselves in the Indian market, the statement said.

On the participation in the Skill India, Birmingham said: "Australian educators are well-placed to help the Indian government achieve its ambitious target of upskilling 400 million Indians by 2022 and I'm pleased that Minister Rudy has endorsed the value of Australian 'train the trainer' courses being delivered by Australian providers."

Speaking on The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Deakin University's collaboration on a Nanobiotechnology Research Centre in New Delhi, he said: "Collaborations like Deakin-TERI and the many showcased by the Group of Eight's new Excellence in India publication that I helped to launch highlight the potential of research partnerships between Australian and Indian universities and researchers."

TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre (TDNBC) was jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi and his Australian counterpart after delegation-level talks on April 10.

TDNBC at TERI's Green Campus in Gurugram, Haryana, is a pioneer research centre in the field of nanobiotechnology research in India.

"Both India and Australia recognise the central value of education and innovation in the prosperity of our societies," Modi said while jointly addressing the media here with Turnbull following their delegation-level bilateral talks.

"It is no surprise, therefore, that cooperation in the field of education and research is one of the most important aspects of our engagement," he said.

Modi also said that the Australia-India Research Fund of nearly $100 million has focused on collaborative research projects in areas such as nanotechnology, smart cities, infrastructure, agriculture and disease control.

"The momentum we've gained at ministerial and officials levels and the support shown by Australia's universities and vocational education providers will continue to deliver for our partnership with India," Birmingham added.

--IANS

rs/nir/dg